Syd Millar

Not to be confused with Syd Miller.
Syd Millar
Chairman of the International Rugby Board
In office
Preceded by Vernon Pugh
Succeeded by Bernard Lapasset
Full name John Sydney Millar
Date of birth (1934-05-23) 23 May 1934
Place of birth Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 100 kg (15 st 10 lb)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Prop
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Ballymena RFC
Barbarians FC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)

John Sydney "Syd" Millar, CBE[1] (born 23 May 1934) was an Irish rugby union prop who played international rugby for Ireland and the British Lions.[2] After retiring from playing rugby he became a rugby coach and later a rugby administrator. He became chairman of the Irish Rugby Union in 1995, and from 2003 until 2007 was the chairman of the International Rugby Board.[3]

Rugby career

Syd Millar was born in Ballymena in Northern Ireland. He played for Ballymena RFC and represented Ireland national rugby union team|Ireland in the pack, winning 37 caps as a prop. In addition, he played nine times for the British and Irish Lions. Millar also coached the successful 1974 British Lions tour to South Africa and managed the 1980 British Lions tour to South Africa. He was the manager of the Irish national side at the 1987 Rugby World Cup|1987 World Cup.


Millar became the president of the Ulster Rugby Union in 1985,[4] and was appointed as one of the representatives of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to the IRB Council in 1992.[5] He became president of the IRFU in 1995,[4] and was also chairman of the British and Irish Lions from 1999 to 2002.

In 2002 the IRB Chairman Vernon Pugh became seriously ill.[6] Millar was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Board of the IRB on 16 September 2002, replacing New Zealander Rob Fisher. He took on the role of interim chairman after the death of Pugh in 2003.[7]

Millar was elected as the IRB chairman in late 2003 to a four-year term commencing in 2004. He presided over a governance restructure and new strategic plan for the IRB, and was influential in the continued lobbying for Rugby sevens inclusion in the Summer Olympics. He stepped down from his posts at the IRB and the IRFU following the 2007 World Cup, and was succeeded as IRB chairman by Bernard Lapasset.[8]


On 20 May 2004 He was Awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Ballymena.[9]

Millar was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Ulster in 1992,[10] and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003. He received a CBE in 2005 having previously been awarded the MBE.[10]

On 12 December 2007 Millar was awarded the Légion d'honneur, France's highest decoration, at a ceremony in Ballymena Rugby Club, by Bernard Lapasset, his successor as IRB Chairman.[11]


  1. "Rugby chief Millar awarded a CBE"
  2. "Syd Millar player profile". Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  3. "A Millar's Tale". BBC Sport. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  4. 1 2 McKinney 2012, p. 102.
  5. "Millar appointed IRB vice chairman". ESPN Scrum. 16 September 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  6. Rugby chief treated for cancer. 9 September 2002. BBC.
  7. Vernon Pugh The Guardian. 26 April 2003.
  8. Rugby: Changes President World Games Association. 2007.
  10. 1 2 Rugby chief Millar awarded a CBE BBC. 10 June 2005.
  11. "Millar receives French Accolade"


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