John Elders (18 December 1930 – 3 May 2015) was an English rugby union player and coach. He played with Leicester Tigers between 1953–1958, scoring the third most tries in the 1950s for his club (38).[2] Elders was also club captain for a number of seasons.

John Elders
John Elders.jpg
Elders as England head coach in 1973
Birth nameJohn Elders
Date of birth(1930-12-18)December 18, 1930
Place of birthEngland
Date of death3 May 2015(2015-05-03) (aged 84)
Place of deathGosforth, England
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Leicester Tigers
Barbarian FC
Old Novocastrians
Teams coached
Years Team
Newcastle Royal Grammar School
Downlands College

Elders coached the England team between 1972–1974.[3] He guided England to their first ever away win against New Zealand, and also coached England through an unbeaten tour of South Africa.[4] Elders played one game for Barbarian FC in the late 1950s.

Elders was the sports master at the Newcastle Royal Grammar School between 1957–1982. Whilst teaching there he played and coached for Northern FC and (Old) Novocastrians. He joined Old Novocastrians whilst a teacher at the Newcastle Royal Grammar School and was always an advocate for the club, helping bring many players to the club in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Elders captained Old Novos from 1959–61.

Elders coached the Downlands College First XV. The 1987 team went undefeated, including matches against Sydney's King's, Riverview and St Joseph's colleges. The side included future Wallabies Brett Johnstone, Brett Robinson, Garrick Morgan, Peter Ryan and Tim Horan.

He died on 3 May 2015, aged 84, after a long illness.


  1. ^ "England go for 'Quiet Man' Elders'". Daily Mirror. 19 October 1971. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  2. ^ Sherrard, Gary (5 May 2015). "Ex-captain John Elders dies aged 84". Leicester Tigers. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Thrilling win for Elders of the game". Evening Chronicle. 16 June 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Ex-England coach John Elders remembered as North East rugby pioneer". Evening Chronicle. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.