At the age of 21, Jason was the youngest Rugby prop ever to play for England. By the time he retired from international rugby 14 years later (in 2003), he had become the world's most-capped forward. He also held the record for total international appearances (when his five caps with the British and Irish Lions are included) until June 2006, when it was overtaken by Australia's scrum-half George Gregan. Jason had 119 caps (114 for England) to Gregan's 139 with Australia.
Jason began his rugby career with Barking before joining Saracens, with whom he won a Courage League Division Two title in 1989/1990. After playing with the England Colts, he won 'B' caps against Fiji and France, before touring Argentina with the senior squad in 1990, when he played in both tests. During the 1990/1991 season, he left Saracens to join Harlequins. He then represented the British and Irish Lions on three tours, to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Jason had to stop playing after England clinched their second consecutive Grand Slam against Wales in 1992, due to a ruptured disc in his back that required surgery. In all, he was out of the game for three months but he made a full recovery and returned to rugby at the start of the following season without missing a game for England.
Jason's record as the world's most-capped forward stood until 2013, when it was overtaken by Richie McCaw. As an England player, Jason won the highest international accolades possible: Grand Slams (1991, 1992, 1995 and 2003) and the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the latter being perhaps his most outstanding appearance, when he came off the bench to help steer England to victory. He also won a British and Irish Lions Test series (on the 1997 tour of South Africa).
Leonard is involved in several charities. In 2009, he became Lead Ambassador of the Wooden Spoon Society, a charity for disadvantaged children and young persons that has its roots founded in rugby. In 2011, he became President of Sparks, the children's medical research charity that funds pioneering research into conditions affecting the health of babies, children and pregnant women.
In 2015, he was appointed as the new President of the Rugby Football Union.
After retiring from the rugby pitch, Leonard entered into the construction business while also maintaining a successful career as an After-dinner and Motivational Speaker. To book him for your event, contact Prime Performers for more information, either through our online booking enquiry form or by calling us on 020 7251 8222.
- Co-ordinator and Team Leader of Team Polar 2000
Alan Chambers MBE
- BBC Rugby correspondent and probably one of the country's finest and most amusing after-dinner speakers.
- Tarka and Katie talk with passion about taking opportunities and facing difficult challenges and, in doing so, thinking of innovative solutions when the odds are stacked against you.
Tarka and Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere