Rugby hero Bill Beaumont receives knighthood from the Queen
Former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont said he felt “very humble and honoured” after collecting his knighthood from the Queen.
Sir Bill was standing in the queue at Buckingham Palace next to cricketer Alastair Cook, England’s all-time leading run scorer, who was also picking up his knighthood.
Sir Bill asked Sir Alastair: “Was it as nerve-racking as this when we were in the tunnel waiting to go out and play?”
He added: “I think the difference is that then you have your team mates around you, here you are on your own.”
The 66-year-old Lancastrian, who is recognised for services to rugby, joins fellow rugby knights such as England’s 2003 World Cup-winning mastermind Sir Clive Woodward, former Scotland coach Sir Ian McGeechan and former Wales scrum-half Sir Gareth Edwards.
Sir Bill led England to a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1980 and also captained the British and Irish Lions.
He has served as Rugby Football Union (RFU) chairman and was elected chairman of World Rugby in 2016.
He told the Queen he sees a great deal of her grandchildren and her daughter the Princess Royal at the games.
Sir Bill won 34 caps for England and was skipper on 21 occasions during an international career that spanned seven years.
Wales have now leapfrogged England to be placed third in World Rugby’s rankings after Saturday’s 21-13 Six Nations victory in Cardiff.
England drop to fourth in the rankings, with New Zealand and Ireland unchanged in first and second place respectively.
Sir Bill said: “I think the way you have got to look at it is that Wales played very well.
“I think that sometimes in life the reason you play sport is that it’s not predictable. If you knew everybody is going to win every game, you would not bother going, and that is the challenge of sport.
“Wales were up for the game and very well prepared. England were probably slightly disappointed with their performance, but sometimes in life you have got to think ‘the opposition were better than us’ – and that is what they were.”
On England’s Six Nations hopes, he said: “In life you cannot rely on the opposition losing a game, so it is out of England’s hands now.”
Sir Bill made his Test debut in 1975, taking over as England captain three years later, while he also led the North of England to victory over the All Blacks in 1979.
His crowning glory in an England shirt was the Grand Slam in 1980 – England’s first Five Nations clean sweep for 23 years – which underpinned his appointment as Lions skipper in South Africa later that year.
He played in 10 of the 18 tour games, but the Lions lost the Test series 3-1 to a dominant Springboks side.
He also toured with the 1977 Lions to New Zealand after being called up as an injury replacement, and was the 2005 Lions tour manager, also in New Zealand.
He retired from rugby in 1982, and he soon became a popular face on the BBC’s A Question Of Sport, becoming a long-serving team captain.
And he has also enjoyed a successful career in rugby administration, initially representing England on the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby) from 1999. He became RFU chairman in 2012.
Sir Bill is currently the chairman of World Rugby, succeeding Frenchman Bernard Laporte in 2016 after being unanimously elected.