Fran Cotton

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Fran Cotton
Full name Francis Edward Cotton
Date of birth (1947-01-03) 3 January 1947 (age 70)
Place of birth Wigan, England
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 ½ in)
Weight 105 kg (16 st 7 lb; 231 lb)[1]
School Newton-le-Willows Grammar School
University Loughborough University
Occupation(s) businessman
Rugby union career
Position(s) Prop
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
? to ?
? to ?
? to ?

? to ?
Liverpool R.F.C. Loughborough Colleges
Coventry R.F.C.
County side:
Correct as of 1 Sept 2006
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1974, 1977
British Lions
Correct as of 1 September 2006

Francis Edward Cotton (born 3 January 1947) is a former rugby union prop forward who played for England and the British Lions. His clubs included Coventry R.F.C. and Sale. After retiring, he remained in rugby administration and founded a clothing company. In July 2007, Cotton returned to his former club Sale as a member of the club's board.[3]

Cotton was born in Wigan, Lancashire and went to Loughborough University to study physical education. Cotton was ahead of his time in terms of physical preparation. It was during these years that Cotton would win the Glengarth Sevens at Davenport Rugby Club (Stockport Rugby Club) along with Steve Smith and Clive Rees. Cotton made his England debut against Scotland in 1971, and played for them 31 times. He also captained the English team three times.

He represented the Lions on their tours to South Africa in 1974, New Zealand in 1977 and South Africa in 1980. It was during the game against the Junior All Blacks on the 1977 tour that the famous 'Mudman' image of Cotton, waiting for the ball at a lineout while caked head-to-toe in mud, was taken. Captured by Colorsport's Colin Elsey, it become one of the most iconic images of rugby union, and in 2009 was named the 5th best sporting photo by the Daily Mail's sports writers.[4] He returned home early from the 1980 tour after leaving the field with chest pains in a tour match.

Cotton was the Tour Manager for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa.[5]

With Steve Smith he founded the clothing company Cotton Traders in 1987. In 2008 Cotton Traders was forced to pull out of Burma after an investigation by the Burma Campaign UK uncovered the company was sourcing clothing from Burma. Clothing exports generate significant income for the Burmese dictatorship [1].

Charitable work[edit]

He is an honorary president of the rugby charity Wooden Spoon improving the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in Britain and Ireland.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
John Pullin
English national rugby union captain
Succeeded by
Tony Neary