Lifestyle

Clive Sullivan: Google Doodle celebrates Great Britain’s first black rugby captain’s 78th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 78th birthday of Welsh rugby league player and coach Clive Sullivan, the first black captain for Great Britain in any sport under captaining Great Britain in 1972, on April 9, 2021.

Who was Clive Sullivan?

Clive Sullivan
Clive Sullivan

Clive A. Sullivan was born on 9 April 1943 in Splott, an inner-city suburb of Cardiff not a long way from the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, which was to have a particularly extraordinary influence in his initial life.

A Great Britain and Wales international winger, he played for both Hull F.C. and Hull Kingston Rovers in his career, and for Oldham and Doncaster. Captaining Great Britain in 1972, he was the first black captain for Great Britain in any sport.

Clive Sullivan was part of the Great Britain team which won the 1972 Rugby League World Cup. His son, Anthony Sullivan, had a successful career with Hull Kingston Rovers, St. Helens, Wales in both rugby league and union, and Cardiff RFC.

Clive started playing rugby at school, yet from the age of fourteen, his young years were tormented with injuries that necessary him to have a few operations on his knees, feet, and shoulders.

Doctors thought it impossible that Clive Sullivan could at any point have the option to walk normally once more. A rugby career probably appeared to be a distant dream as of now, however, Clive’s story is one of grit and determination.

In the wake of leaving school and working for some time as a motor mechanic, Clive Sullivan joined the British Army in 1961. He finished his essential training at Catterick in North Yorkshire and proceeded to be trained as a radio operator. When qualified, he at that point offered to become a paratrooper.

In the wake of acquiring Clive Sullivan’s wings, he joined 216 Parachute Signals Squadron at Farnborough, Hampshire. He saw active service with his unit in Nicosia, Cyprus in January 1964 and was in this way joined to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and was awarded the United Nations Medal for his service.

Clive Sullivan was an out-and-out sprinter with the blistering speed his trademark. If there was space outwardly he would misuse it, running round the fastest of opposition wingers. Albeit delicate looking with spindly legs, he was the master of the cover tackle with deceptive upper body strength.

Disregarding repeated injuries requiring further operations on his knees, he played 13 seasons with Hull. Around then the club was having little achievement yet Clive was as yet ready to show his gigantic ability. A model was his seven attempts against Doncaster in 1968, a club record.

Clive Sullivan scored 250 tries for Hull in 352 games, effectively a club record. Moved across the city in 1974 to Hull Kingston Rovers he scored a further 118 tries in 213 games.

Clive Sullivan won the first of 17 caps for Great Britain in 1967, playing three World Cup matches in 1968 with a hat trick in the game against New Zealand. He toured Australia a year later, however, injury confined him to only one Test.

In 1967, Clive Sullivan made his international debut for Great Britain, which granted him his historic captaincy in 1972. After a stint as a coach for Hull FC, the team unexpectedly got back to him to contend indeed as a player at 39 years old.

Getting back to Great Britain in 1971 Clive Sullivan showed up in each of the three Tests against New Zealand and in 1972 was awarded the captaincy for the two Tests with France. Maybe he is best recognized as captain of the team which won the World Cup in France in 1972, scoring an attempt in every one of Great Britain’s four games.

His Great Britain career was completed in 1973 with three Tests against Australia. In his 17 appearances, he had scored 13 tries and captained the side on nine events. He was awarded the MBE for services to Rugby League.

With Wales, Clive Sullivan won 15 caps in the period 1968-1979. In all games, club and international, he scored 406 tries in 639 appearances, a record bettered by just two other Welshmen and just about six players of any nationality. He will consistently rank as one of the best finishers in the sport of Rugby League.

Great Britain winger Clive Sullivan’s first World Cup was a disaster for the team however quite successful for himself. He played in three of Britain’s fixtures, scoring an attempt in the first against Australia, and in the final game, a 38-14 win over New Zealand in Sydney, he became the first British player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match.

By 1972 Clive Sullivan had ascended to the Great Britain captaincy and was in charge of the competition in France. He led his under-rated Lions to triumph over Australia (27-21), France (13-4), and New Zealand (53-19), asserting an attempt in each game.

In any case, he is best remembered for his standout touchdown in the final of the competition against top choices Australia. His length of the field race to score in the 10-10 draw at Lyon is apparently the most renowned attempt in the history of the World Cup. Sully was the last British captain to lift the World Cup.

In 1975 Clive Sullivan was still causing mayhem to defenses and represented Wales in four World Championship matches. His last attempt at this level viably won the World title for Australia, as Wales beat England 12-7 at Brisbane, because of Sullivan’s match-clinching attempt after pursuing a ball over the English line.

Clive Sullivan’s final three games in the competition, be that as it may, all finished in misfortunes. Clive’s son Anthony imitated his dad by addressing Wales in the 1995 World Cup.

At the point when Sullivan died of cancer in 1985 aged only 42, the city of Hull held him in such high respect that a section of the city’s main approach road (the A63) between the Humber Bridge, and the city center was renamed Clive Sullivan Way in his honor.

Since 2001, the Clive Sullivan Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Rugby League Local Derby match between Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers in acknowledgment of his service to both local clubs.

In December 2020 Sullivan was named as one of three Welsh rugby league players to be honored with a new statue in Cardiff Bay, the other two being Billy Boston and Gus Risman.

Clive Sullivan actually holds two records for Hull which are: Most tries in a career (250) and most tries in a match (7) against Doncaster on 15 April 1968 and is one of less than 25 Welshmen to have scored more than 1000-points in their rugby league career.

On April 9th, 2021, Google celebrates Clive Sullivan’s 78th Birthday with a Google Doodle.

Tags
Back to top button
Close