1954 RL World Cup. The story of Dave Valentine. Scotland’s winning captain.

Dave Valentine was born on the 12th of September 1926. In the Scottish Borders. In Hawick in Roxburghshire. Born into a rugby family, Dave’s younger brothers. Alec and Rob were also fine rugby players. Alec was capped three times for the Scotland Rugby Union team in 1953. And Rob Valentine played representative rugby union for South of Scotland. He later switched to Rugby League and played for Huddersfield, Wakefield Trinity, and Keighley. And was capped for Great Britain Rugby League.

A Rugby Family from Hawick

All three siblings began their careers as flank forwards in Rugby Union. Dave and Rob’s combination of speed, strength, and athleticism suited the Rugby League game. It made them an instant success.

Five Nations Rugby Championship Scotland Debut

Dave Valentine established himself in his hometown side Hawick. Then aged only 20 he was selected for the Scotland Rugby Union team for the 1947 Five Nations championship. He made his debut against Ireland at Murrayfield. Then was selected in the team against England at Twickenham. Although Scotland was defeated in both games. Valentine clearly made a name for himself. And the gifted young player caught the attention of the Rugby League clubs south of the border.

Huddersfield, Great Britain, Wembley & 1954 RL World Cup Success

In October 1947. Valentine signed to professional forms with Huddersfield. He quickly settled into the Loose Forward position. And then played in all three Tests for Great Britain Rugby League team of the 1948–49 victorious Ashes series.

His progress in the game continued. He was selected for the British Empire XIII. Against New Zealand at Stamford Bridge in 1952. And played in both the 2nd and 3rd Tests of the 1952 Ashes series.

At club level for Huddersfield. Valentine starred in the 1952–53 Challenge Cup Final victory over St Helens. Winning 15-10 at the famous Wembley Stadium. In front of 89,588 spectators.

1954 Ashes Tour to Australia

In 1954 Valentine was selected for Great Britain’s tour of Australia and New Zealand. The tourists were Captained by Dickie Williams. And the grueling tour schedule began against Western Division in Bathurst, Australia on the 19th of May. It took in New Zealand and a return trip to Australia. The tour finally ended on the 22nd of August in Maitland, Australia. Over three months of constant rugby league.

1954 RL World Cup. Scotland’s Winner.

Understandably, the Great Britain team for the 1954 Rugby League World Cup later that same year. Was missing many of the players from the tour. With an untested, inexperienced squad, nobody expected Great Britain to have a chance of winning the trophy. But, Valentine was made Captain. And Great Britain finished top of the group stage. They then shocked the hosts France to win the final 16-12. Making history as the first winners of the Rugby League World Cup. David Valentine became not only the first man to lift the famous trophy. But to this day remains the only Scottish man to ever lift a world cup.

With fellow Scot David Rose scoring the opening try in the final. The two Scots led sing songs with a rendition of the old Scottish folk song – ‘The Massacre of Macpherson’.

Continued Success with Huddersfield

Valentine continued his successful club form winning numerous Yorkshire Cups. He retired in 1957, having made 356 appearances for Huddersfield.

He went on to Coach Huddersfield. And successfully guided them to Wembley in 1962. But they were defeated by 6-12 by Wakefield Trinity in the 1961–62 Challenge Cup. And was the coach in the 14-5 victory over Wakefield Trinity in the Championship Final during the 1961–62 season at Odsal Stadium, Bradford on Saturday 19 May 1962. He also coached Batley from June 1966 to December 1967.

In his prime playing days, Dave Valentine was a classic loose forward. Combining, power, speed, and skill with exceptional leadership qualities.

Celebrating the 1954 RL World Cup & Great Britain Rugby League Teams

Ellis Rugby celebrates the history of the game. Our items include a stylish Great Britain Rugby League range.