Neil Francis (rugby union)

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Neil Francis
Full name Neil Patrick Francis
Date of birth (1964-03-17) 17 March 1964 (age 53)
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight 262 lb (119 kg)[1]
Rugby union career
Position(s) lock forward
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1987-1996 Ireland 36 20
Correct as of 17 February 2014

Neil Francis is a retired Irish rugby union lock forward and number eight. He played for Blackrock College, London Irish, Old Belvedere, Leinster and won 36 caps between 1987 and 1996 for Ireland.[2]


On February 16, 2014, Francis sparked controversy when he claimed that “gay people do not have any interest in sport” and that “only a tiny percentage are actively involved in professional sports of any kind".

The player-turned-pundit was speaking on Newstalk's Off the Ball and when asked by presenter Joe Molloy if he believed the percentage of gay people involved in sport was lower than the 10 per cent which is the estimate of the general population who are gay, he said he suspected “that nowhere near 10 per cent. I would say in the smaller margin of 1 per cent”. [3]