|Birth name||Neil Patrick Francis|
|Date of birth||17 March 1964|
|Place of birth||Dublin, Ireland|
|Height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight||262 lb (119 kg)|
|Rugby union career|
Neil Francis is a retired Irish rugby union lock forward and number eight. He played for Blackrock College, London Irish, Old Belvedere, Leinster and won 36 caps between 1987 and 1996 for Ireland.
On 16 February 2014, Francis sparked controversy when he claimed that “gay people do not have any interest in sport” and that “only a tiny percentage are actively involved in professional sports of any kind".
The player-turned-pundit was speaking on Newstalk's Off the Ball and when asked by presenter Joe Molloy if he believed the percentage of gay people involved in sport was lower than the 10 per cent which is the estimate of the general population who are gay, he said he suspected “that nowhere near 10 per cent. I would say in the smaller margin of 1 per cent”.
In November 2019, he suggested South Africa's win in the Rugby World Cup was 'tainted by steroids'.
Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a full-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is played between two teams of 15 players each, using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field called a pitch. The field has H-shaped goalposts at both ends.
The Rugby Championship is an international rugby union competition contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. These are the four highest ranked national teams in the Southern Hemisphere, the Six Nations is a similar tournament in the Northern Hemisphere.
Rugby sevens, and originally known as seven-a-side rugby, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players playing seven-minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40-minute halves. Rugby sevens is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific.
The Georgia national rugby union team, nicknamed The Borjgalosnebi or more commonly as The Lelos, represents Georgia in men's international rugby union. The team is administered by the Georgian Rugby Union and takes part in the annual Rugby Europe Championship and the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years.
The Japan national rugby union team is traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years. Rugby union in Japan is administered by the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), which was founded in 1926. They compete annually in the Pacific Nations Cup and previously in the Asia Rugby Championship. They have also participated in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987.
In the game of rugby union, there are 15 players on each team, comprising eight forwards and seven backs. In addition, there may be up to eight replacement players "on the bench", numbered 16–23. Players are not restricted to a single position, although they generally specialise in just one or two that suit their skills and body types. Players that play multiple positions are called "utility players".
The Italy national rugby union team represents Italy in men's international rugby union. The team is known as gli Azzurri. Savoy blue is the common colour of the national teams representing Italy, as it is the traditional colour of the royal House of Savoy which reigned over the Kingdom of Italy from 1860 to 1946.
Schalk Willem Petrus Burger Jr. is a South African professional rugby union player. He plays as a flanker for Saracens in the English Premiership and has won 86 caps for South Africa.
Simon Dalton Shaw MBE is a former English rugby union player who played at lock. He last played for Toulon and played for England.
Peter Charles Richards is a former English rugby union player. A versatile player, he has played in three positions: scrum half, fly-half and centre. Richards retired in the summer of 2010 because of a back injury. As of May 2015, Richards became head coach at London Scottish.
John William Smit, OIS, is a South African former rugby union player and former chief executive officer of the Sharks. He was the 50th captain of the South Africa national team, and led the team to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He played most of his senior career as a hooker, but also won 13 caps as a prop, where he had also played for South Africa's under-21 team. He retired from international rugby following the 2011 Rugby World Cup as the most-capped South African player ever, with 111 appearances.
John Sydney Millar is a former rugby union prop from Northern Ireland who played international rugby for Ireland and the British Lions. After retiring from playing rugby he became a rugby coach and later a rugby administrator. He became chairman of the Irish Rugby Union in 1995, and from 2003 until 2007 was the chairman of the International Rugby Board.
William Stuart Lancaster, known as Stuart Lancaster is a rugby union coach. He was the head coach of the English national rugby union team from 2011 until he stepped down on 11 November 2015, following the failure to qualify for the Quarter Finals of the Rugby World Cup. On 5 September 2016 it was announced that Lancaster would join the backroom team of Irish provincial side, Leinster Rugby.
Ewen James Andrew McKenzie is an Australian professional rugby union coach and a former international rugby player. He played for Australia's World Cup winning team in 1991 and earned 51 caps for the Wallabies during his test career. McKenzie was head coach of the Australian team from 2013 to 2014. He has coached in both southern and northern hemispheres, in Super Rugby for the Waratahs and Reds, and in France at Top 14 side Stade Français. During his playing days he was a prop and, in a representative career spanning from 1987 to 1997, he played nine seasons for the NSW Waratahs and two for the ACT Brumbies.
Gideon "Kees" Lensing is a former Namibian rugby union player and current head coach of the Seattle Seawolves of Major League Rugby. He played as a prop for six different teams over more than 11 years. Lensing played for the Namibia national rugby union team in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He was Captain of the Namibia National Team from 2006 to 2009, and ultimately played 24 matches for Namibia.
Allen Erasmus 'Naka' Drotské is a former South African rugby union player, who played for the Springboks between 1993 and 1999.
George Edward John Kruis is a professional rugby union player for Panasonic Wild Knights.
The 2012 Rugby Championship was the inaugural annual rugby union series between the national rugby union teams of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina. For sponsorship reasons, the competition was known as The Castle Rugby Championship in South Africa, The Investec Rugby Championship in New Zealand, The Castrol Edge Rugby Championship in Australia and The Personal Rugby Championship in Argentina.
Ian Madigan is an Irish professional rugby union player for Ulster. His primary position is at fly-half, although he can also play at centre and full-back.