John Kendall-Carpenter

John MacGregor Kendall-Carpenter (1926–1990) was an England rugby union international who won 23 caps as a back row forward between 1949 and 1954. He subsequently served as President of the Rugby Football Union (1980–1981), the England Schools Rugby Football Union (1985–90) and Cornwall (1984–87). He was also Chairman of the committee that organised the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.

He was one of only five Cornishmen to captain the England Rugby team - the others were E K Scott, Vic Roberts, Richard Sharp and Phil Vickery.


He was educated at Truro School and Oxford University where he won his Blue playing in The Varsity Match at Twickenham for three successive years from 1948 - 1950. David Frost, the former Guardian rugby correspondent, recalled a famous tackle in the 1949 Varsity match when John Kendall-Carpenter preserved Oxford's 3-0 winning lead by thwarting J.V. Smith, the Cambridge centre, in the dying moments of the game:

"Smith slipped his man, side-stepped two coverers and seemed certain to cross at the corner and bring at least an equalising try (three points in those days), reported the Guardian. Cambridge hats were already in the air and Oxford's supporters were dumb with horror but then at the last possible moment Kendall-Carpenter dived and took man and ball into touch a yard from the line."

He appeared as a club player for Penzance & Newlyn, forerunners of the Cornish Pirates, before moving on to Bath, where he was dubbed "Prince of Cornerflaggers", while he taught rugby at both Clifton College and Wellington School. Subsequently he became the Headmaster of Cranbrook School in Kent, followed by Eastbourne College in 1970 before returning to Wellington School as headmaster in 1973.

On 24 October 2011, at the IRB Awards ceremony in Auckland, Kendall-Carpenter was posthumously recognised for his role in the creation of the Rugby World Cup with induction into the IRB Hall of Fame.[1]


After his death a John Kendall-Carpenter Trust Fund was established. Linked to the Cornwall Rugby Football Union, the fund exists to help young people up to the age of 21 in sport both in Cornwall and elsewhere in the world. He was also honoured by his fellow Cornishmen by being appointed a Bard of Gorseth Kernow at Illogan in 1981: - Kendall-Carpenter, John Macgregor (D) (Onen A Bymthek)


  1. "RWC legends inducted into IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-10-26.

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