- Peter Baines takes over from Jason Leonard as President
- Maggie Alphonsi also joins the RFU Council
Peter Baines, RFU Senior Vice President, will become the President of the RFU from 1 August 2016, taking over from Jason Leonard.
Former England Women’s World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi will also join the Council and former England full back Jonathan Webb will join Ian Ritchie as the RFU’s two representatives on the World Rugby Council.
Webb replaces Bill Beaumont who will take office as Chairman of World Rugby on 1 July.
Peter Baines was the Hertfordshire representative on the RFU Council from 2002 to 2014. He was an RFU Management Board member for 10 years and Chairman of the Finance and Funding, and Governance Standing Committees.
He was also a founder trustee of the Injured Players Foundation and chaired the RFU for Women Integration Task Group, helping to ensure a smooth integration of the women’s game with the RFU. He is currently Chairman of the Agents Review Board.
“Jason Leonard has been, and will continue to be, a brilliant ambassador for the game, and on behalf of the Union, I would like to thank him for all that he has done for the sport," said Baines.
“One of the greatest joys of the vice-presidency over the last two years has been visiting clubs, schools and constituent bodies across the country and meeting the people who freely commit so much of their time and effort for the good of the game, and I’m looking forward to continuing that over the next year.”
Baines succeeds Jason Leonard OBE who was appointed RFU President in June 2015. During his time in office, one of Leonard's key priorities was developing the legacy of the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Jason Leonard said: “Looking back at the past year, which has included staging the best ever Rugby World Cup, it seemed only right to focus on legacy as a key theme for my term as RFU President.
“A combination of the larger scale, national projects and the more localised, grassroots initiatives that we have delivered across the past year have helped us to achieve our goal of illustrating that rugby really is a game for everyone, providing people across the country with the opportunity to enjoy the game and all it has to offer.
“I would like to wish Peter all the best for his term as RFU President."
During his tenure, Leonard oversaw a Rugby World Cup legacy programme that included 400 more secondary state schools taking up rugby via CBRE All Schools, one million people engaged in the sport through Festival of Rugby events and over 500 club facilities improved.
Since her retirement from international rugby in 2014, Alphonsi has focused on commentary across a number of channels including becoming the first ever female to commentate on men’s international rugby for ITV during the Rugby World Cup.
Alphonsi will replace Phil Vickery and becomes the first former England Women’s player to be elected as a National Member of the RFU Council.
“It is a great privilege to replace Phil Vickery in this role, and be able to give back to the game in another guise,” said Alphonsi.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Phil for all he has contributed to the game during his tenure. I am very much looking forward to starting in the position and working alongside other RFU Council Members from 1 August.”
Elected officials and appointments
Appointments for one-year terms:
- Peter Baines – President
- John Spencer – Senior Vice President
- Chris Kelly – Junior Vice President
- Maggie Alphonsi – RFU Council Member
New members of the RFU Council as elected by their Constituent Bodies are:
- Phil Attwell – Students RFU
- Alan Milliner MBE – Cornwall
- Peter Howard – Leicestershire
- And for a three-year term:
- Jonathan Webb – RFU Representative to World Rugby Council