1970 Rugby League Ashes Series Winner Cliff Watson.


Cliff Watson, born in Stepney in the East End of London

Cliff was born in Stepney on 26 April 1940. If not necessarily within the sound of Bow Bells. Ten certainly air raid sirens! The Luftwaffe bombed out the family. And the family went back to his father’s birthplace in Dudley, in the West Midlands, never to return. It was there that his rugby odyssey began. Firstly as a hooker, for the local Dudley Kingswinford club.

He made excellent progress in the fifteen-a-side code. And played at county level for Worcester. And Hereford, but wanted something different.

St Helens Advertise for Players

The search for big, powerful forwards knew no bounds during the summer of 1960. As the St. Helens Board took the unprecedented step of paying £400 for an advertising campaign in the national press. Inviting top-class rugby union packmen to write to Knowsley Road for trials.

His prospective trade as an apprentice toolmaker at Newey Brothers, in Tipton, had stalled because of a rugby injury. And he was transferred to the stores. One of his workmates showed him the Saints’ advert from the latest edition of the Sporting Chronicle. Cliff applied and the rest is history.

1970 Rugby League Ashes Series

Arguably his greatest achievement was in 1970 when he was selected for Great Britain. On the 1970 tour of Australia and New Zealand. The prop forward played a significant role on the successful tour. And the series win over the Kangaroos in Australia. The last time the Lions have won down under.

From Saint to Shark Book

In From Saint to Shark Cliff Watson tells of the unique introduction he had to the game of rugby league. At top club St Helens in the 1960s via a newspaper advertisement. He traces his career at club and international level in England. Notching up nearly 400 appearances for Saints and a further 30 for Great Britain.

And he describes his time at the Cronulla Sharks Club in Australia. During the early years of their existence. Culminating in their first ever Grand Final appearance,. Dubbed the ‘dirtiest final ever’. Watson won every honour in the game. And was voted a member of both the Saints and Sharks dream teams.

Rugby League Ashes Success or Failure

He describes many of the big games he starred in. Covers events that occurred off the field and talks of rival players he had run-ins with. He also deals with several previously unanswered questions. Relating to the 1973 controversial Australian Grand Final.

In addition, Watson a 1970 Rugby League Ashes winner is forthright in how the Ashes were won. Also, why series were lost on his tours down under. Finally, he is equally forthright in his views of why England continue to lag behind both Australia and New Zealand.

A Book for All Lovers of Rugby League

It is a book that will be enjoyed by all lovers of that period of the game – often referred to as the ‘era of the biff’ – when every team had a hard man and Cliff, a skillful and fearless player, was one of the hardest! You can buy this book from ABE Books here.

Cliff Watson played for St Helens and Cronulla at Club level. And we offer two garments celebrating these great teams. Cronulla Rugby League Shirt Polo Vintage 1976. Also our Vintage St Helens Shirt 1966 Rugby League. In addition, we offer two styles inspired by Cliff and the Great Britain 1970 Rugby League Ashes winners. Firstly, Vintage Great Britain Rugby League Shirt 1970. Also, our Retro Great Britain Rugby League 1970 Shirt Polo.