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Fran Cotton

Fran Cotton

Physical Education, 1973
Hon DTech 1998

Former Rugby Union international, Fran played for teams including the Barbarians, Lancashire and Sale. He won his first cap for England in 1971 going on to represent England on 31 occasions, captaining them in 1975. He also toured with the British Lions in 1974, 1977 and 1980, playing in seven tests. Fran was a leading player in the famous Bill Beaumont Grand Slam Team.

Whilst at Loughborough he played under visionary coach Jim Greenwood, and won two UAU national titles. It was here he also met future business partner and England rugby international Steve Smith.

Fran was versatile rugby player, enabling him to pack down at tighthead in four Lions tests against South Africa and at loosehead in three against New Zealand; he was also good enough with ball-in-hand to have captained England in the inaugural World Sevens competition in 1973.

Since retiring as a player in 1981, he has served as a member of the Rugby Football Union Management Board and as Chairman of the Club England Committee. He also managed the victorious 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa.

In 1987, he co-founded the leisure wear company Cotton Traders which also supplies and sponsors the team kits of a large number of rugby teams including the Barbarians and Leicester Tigers.

He is an honorary president of the rugby charity, Wooden Spoon.