Tony Underwood becomes foundation ambassador

Monday 22 August 2022 Written by: Adam

Ex-England international Tony Underwood will champion the work of the Newcastle Rugby Foundation by raising awareness of the organisation’s award-winning work and encouraging others to get involved.

Capped 27 times for England between 1992 and 1998, Underwood was also a two-time tourist with the British and Irish Lions, including their victorious 1997 trip to South Africa.

The flying winger joined the Falcons from Leicester Tigers as the club embarked on a whirlwind rise to be crowned 1997-98 Premiership champions – the only club to win the title the first season after being promoted into England’s top flight.

He made 29 appearances for the club in the Premiership, scoring 16 tries. Following his retirement from rugby he made a successful transition to become a professional airline pilot, culminating in his role as a captain with Emirates, operating the Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

Underwood will undertake his duties as the Foundation’s first ambassador as he embarks on a new challenge of his own. Two huge personalities from the Falcons’ early days were enormously influential on him, and he endeavours to preserve their legacy through a behavioural model that leaders can implement if they wish to inspire themselves and those around them to higher performance.

His appointment is one that the Foundation is delighted to make ahead of the official unveiling of its new mission and purpose in September as it develops a strategy to engage more people to make a positive change.

The Newcastle Rugby Foundation is a charity that makes rugby the positive difference in the lives of the community. Encompassing both Falcons Community and Thunder Community, it currently employs 14 staff who work across a wide variety of projects in both codes.

Commenting on his appointment as ambassador, Tony Underwood said: “I’ve been blown away by the work that the Foundation undertakes, and more so by the individuals that go out of their way every day making a massive change in people’s lives.

“They exemplify everything that their young charges could do with replicating to forge a future built on lasting character and values that resonate with everyone they come into contact with.

“The Foundation is not sitting still though and has done a huge amount of work bringing together its belief system in the form of Rugby+, a vision that crystallises just how much of a positive difference the core values of rugby can make.

“If you can, please do come and join us on September 19 when the strategy is launched. Contact to request an invite.

“I look forward to welcoming anyone and everyone coming on board in any way to support the Foundation. You won’t regret it.”

Chair of trustees Iain Ramage said: “We are incredibly grateful that Tony has agreed to join the Newcastle Rugby Foundation as our first ambassador.

“He will be a fantastic addition and support to the Foundation’s community bringing a wealth of experience as a former player for Newcastle Falcons, England and the British & Irish Lions. He has also agreed to support the Foundation using his considerable professional knowledge and expertise in personal and professional development as we embed Rugby+ into everything we do.”