RFU President, John Southern Spencer was born in Grassington, Yorkshire, where he is still President of the local Wharfedale RUFC, and was educated at Cressbrook, Sedbergh School, and Queens' College, Cambridge.
He played centre for Cambridge in the 1967, 68 and 69 Varsity Matches and played club rugby for Headingley, making his England debut aged 21, running out against Ireland at Lansdowne Road in February 1969.
John went on to play 14 times for England, forming a special centre partnership with David Duckham, captaining for four Tests and scoring two tries, his last match was against the President's Overseas XV in the Rugby Football Union’s centenary match at Twickenham Stadium in April 1971. He also represented the Barbarians 25 times and is currently Chairman of the Barbarian FC.
Selected for the 1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand, he played in ten of the tour’s matches. He was appointed tour manager for the British and Irish Lions 2017 tour to New Zealand.
John has been England’s representative on the Lions board since 2008 and has also served on the Six Nations Council and the International Rugby Board.
He joined the RFU Council as Yorkshire representative in 1999, spent 14 years on the Professional Gam Board and its predecessor Club England and a similar period on the RFU Board.