If hed played football, hed probably be an OBE. If hed played rugby union hed almost certainly be a CBE. But he played rugby league, which is probably why he only mustered an MBE, the lowest rung on the honours ladder. Its also worth pointing out that he was black. While Bobby Moore OBE and Martin Johnson CBE are rightly lauded as World Cup-winning captains of their nations, how many people have heard of Clive Sullivan? Perhaps they should have. Not only was he the captain of the last British team to win the Rugby League World Cup and scored a remarkable solo try in the final, even more significantly he was the first black captain of any Great Britain sports team, ever.
And while we have rightly been lauding the transformation of that once-solid adjunct to the apartheid regime, the South African rugby union team who won their World Cup in November led by their first ever black captain Siya Kolisi, Welshman Clive Sullivan became the captain of his national team a full 47 years earlier in what were, its fair to say, far less enlightened times.
James Jimmy Cumberbatch, professional rugby league player, on a Senior Service cigarette card
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