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Jamie Jones-Buchanan: ‘Ethnicities never been a barrier in rugby league – but we need to tell more stories’

Leeds Rhinos’ head of culture, diversity and inclusivity Jamie Jones-Buchanan praises the rich history of diversity within rugby league and says the sport should use Black History Month to continue to promote inclusivity.

Last Updated: 01/10/22 11:41am


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Leeds Rhinos’ head of culture, diversity and inclusivity Jamie Jones-Buchanan praises the rich history of diversity within rugby league and says the sport should use Black History Month to continue to promote inclusivity.

Leeds Rhinos’ head of culture, diversity and inclusivity Jamie Jones-Buchanan praises the rich history of diversity within rugby league and says the sport should use Black History Month to continue to promote inclusivity.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan has told Sky Sports News rugby league has never had a problem with diversity – but the sport needs to tell more stories.

Jones-Buchanan was appointed as the first-ever head of culture, diversity and inclusivity at Leeds Rhinos, after stepping down from the coaching team this year.

He was head coach for six weeks in April and will transition to the new role next year.

Jones-Buchanan said rugby league has taken its history of diversity for granted.

“There’s been some real black pioneers within the sport. Someone pointed out this year that when I became interim coach in April, Crux Lehman was captain at the time, and it might have been the first time we would have had a mixed race captain and mixed race coach,” he said.

“It’s something that we have taken for granted in rugby league. This year we celebrate 50 years since Roy Francis, the first-ever black coach of any professional English sport to lead a rugby league team to a championship and of course Clive Sullivan in 1972 became the first-ever black captain of any GB or English team as well.

“We have been fortunate that ethnicity has never been a barrier, certainly in my experience. It’s probably something we don’t shout enough about and celebrate enough.”

The 41-year-old made over 400 appearances for the Rhinos after making his debut in 1999, as well as playing 14 times for England.



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