Mr Rory Underwood


Date 9 December 2014 Interviewed by Yu Ket Ngui (Alex)
Language English Audio Edited by Sherri Wong
Venue School of Oriental and African Studies, London    

Rory Underwood was born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire and is the eldest of four children. His mother is from Malaysia and his father was also born in Middlesbrough and worked in Malaysia. He spent his formative years in Malaysia and began attending boarding school in the UK since the early 1970s. Rory join the Royal Air Force (RAF) section of the Combined Cadet Force whilst at Barnard Castle School in County Durham. It was during this time that he was introduced to rugby which would lead to his international rugby career.

Rory is best known for scoring a record 49 tries for England (85 caps, 1984-1996). He won 6 caps for the British Lions touring Australia (1989) and New Zealand (1993). Additionally, Rory played first class rugby at Leicester Tigers for an unbelievable 14 years. He was awarded the MBE in 1992 for his services to rugby.

Rory officially joined the RAF on 14th February 1983 as a pilot, accumulating 3000hrs flying fast jets and left on 19th June 2001. During his service he was responsible for introducing Crew Resources Management (CRM) training into the RAF. After flying for 18 years with the RAF, Rory considered flying for commercial airlines such as British Airways. However, an opportunity arose for Rory to run a business training programme with a colleague from the military. Rory then set up his own management consultancy business, Wingman Ltd, in 2009. Rory now brings his experiences from his time in rugby and the RAF to his consultancy work.

Rory has brought up his 2 daughters with his wife over the years and has maintained a connection to the sporting world. He has been non-Executive Director for Leicester Tigers since 2007 and was Chairman of the Leicester Sports Partnership Trust. He spends the rest of his time volunteering within the city of Leicester and in other activities such as being committee member for the Grantham Macmillan Cancer Charity.