Twickenham, England – New English Rugby Football Union (RFU) president Tom Ilube said on Tuesday he plans to launch a 2031 World Cup bid and believes Eddie Jones’ men must settle in both first in the world ranking.
Ilube was appointed in March and took office in August, making him, according to the RFU, the first black chairman of a sports governing body in Britain. He said he wanted to change perceptions.
Ilube is also aiming for the World Cup which he believes would be a catalyst to stimulate local interest in the sport.
“We would like to bid for this – the 2031 World Cup,” he told reporters.
“It would be really exciting to have him here and you can imagine what that would be like and I think that makes us a priority as well.”
England last hosted the competition in 2015.
France will host in 2023, with Australia and the United States being the main contenders for hosting the tournament four years later.
England, one of the richest countries in the world with one of the biggest playing bases, finished second in the 2019 World Cup and third in the world rankings.
Still, Jones’ side finished a modest fifth place in the Six Nations last season.
“I’m not sure our system is generating these world-class players right now,” Ilube said. “I think England should always be ranked one and two in the world. Just year after year, we should be there. “
“To do that, we need this absolutely world-class cohort of players.”
The 58-year-old was born not far from Twickenham but spent periods of his youth in Africa. On Tuesday, he recounted how he was nearly shot as a child by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
“My father was from Nigeria. My mom’s English from up the road, ”Ilube said.
“We went to East Africa, Uganda actually, when a dictator called Idi Amin took power, which was pretty lively. At one point, I was tied up and almost shot by security guards, for some reason.
“It’s probably a whole different conversation. But eventually we got out and returned to England. “
He worked for a number of leading companies, including British Airways and Goldman Sachs, before becoming a private equity entrepreneur.
Ilube played rugby for the junior section of London Welsh and is an avowed “sideline daddy” – his son plays the game.
As a black man, he breaks the mold in a sport which in England is seen as the preserve of white, wealthy, and privately educated men, even though a number of the country’s top players are black or mixed race. .
“There’s this perception in some people’s minds and it doesn’t quite align with reality, so there is something about communication that we need to look at over time,” Ilube said.
“I don’t come from a wealthy background. I’m an educated guy in public school, in foster care, and I’m president of the RFU. I think we can change perceptions over time. It doesn’t change overnight. “
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