WHEELCHAIR RUGBY LEAGUE

9th April 2020, 17:10 | 125

#RFL125 Factfile | Clive Sullivan

#RFL125 Factfile | Clive Sullivan

A Great Britain, Wales and Hull legend

On this day in 1943, Clive Sullivan MBE was born in Cardiff, Wales. 

Sullivan became the first black captain of any British national sporting side and skippered Great Britain to the Rugby League World Cup title in 1972, scoring a stunning solo effort in the final against Australia. 

The Welsh-born winger spent the majority of his playing career in Hull enjoying lengthy spells with both Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers. Sullivan also went on to represent Oldham and Doncaster later in his career.

Sullivan’s career began with the Black and Whites in 1961 and was soon known for his exceptional speed and try-scoring ability. During his time with Hull FC, Sullivan would score 250 tries in 352 games.  

However, he would lift just one trophy during his first spell with Hull FC in the form of the 1970 Yorkshire Cup, scoring a try in their 12-9 Final victory over Featherstone Rovers. 

By 1967, Sullivan had forced his way into the international ranks with Great Britain and would go on to play three World Cup matches the following year, scoring a hat-trick against New Zealand.

His international career would go from strength-to-strength as he was handed the captaincy in 1972 ahead of a two-match test series with France – an iconic moment in British sporting history.

Later that year he would lead Great Britain to the Rugby League World Cup scoring one of the most famous tries in Rugby League history as he went the length of the field against favourites Australia.

In 1974, Sullivan made the switch to Hull Kingston Rovers for whom he would play on 213 occasions, scoring 118 tries between 1974 and 1981. Sullivan featured on the wing for the Robins in the all-Hull Challenge Cup Final of 1980, lifting the trophy with the Rovers. He would also win the 1977 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy with the club, scoring a try in their 26-11 defeat of St Helens. 

Sullivan would eventually return to Hull FC in a coaching capacity but was called upon to play in 1982 and would take the side to the 1982 Challenge Cup Final. Sullivan featured in Hull’s 18-9 Challenge Cup Final Replay victory over Widnes meaning he had tasted Cup success on both sides of Hull.

Sullivan represented Wales in the 1975 World Cup meaning he played in three World Cups – 1968, 1972 and 1975 – two with Great Britain and one with Wales. 

He would retire as the only man to score a century of tries for both Hull clubs.

When Sullivan passed away in 1985 at the age of just 42, the City of Hull a section of the A63 – the city’s main approach – was renamed Clive Sullivan Way.  

Since 2001, the Clive Sullivan Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Hull FC and Hull KR derby.