Hall of Fame Great Britain 1970 Rugby League Jersey. A Vintage style Jersey made from 100% Cotton and featuring a design inspired by the 1970 Great Britain Ashes Test win down under. Available in either Malcolm Reilly or Roger Millward style.
Vintage Great Britain Rugby League Shirt 1970
Vintage Great Britain Rugby League.
An Introduction to Vintage Great Britain Rugby League
The Vintage Great Britain Rugby League Lions regained their pride in 1970. Also, it regained the Ashes with a stunning 24-match tour of Australia and New Zealand. Led superbly by Frank Myler, the tourists lost only one game in Australia, the first test. And successfully negotiated the often difficult New Zealand leg without defeat. This was a sensational squad that included the likes of Hall of Fame inductees Mal Reilly and Roger Millward. Also, coached by the remarkable Johnny Whiteley an Ashes winner as both player and coach.
Malcolm Reilly was a trailblazer of the English game. As a player, he won a host of honours. Including the 1970 Great Britain Ashes Test winning team down under and inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.
Roger Millward enjoyed a playing career that spanned from 1964-1980. He made his name with his hometown club Castleford. A move the Hull KR in 1966 resulted in him becoming one of the Rovers’ all-time greats. He too became part of the Rugby League Hall of Fame.
Denis Hartley, the oldest tourist at 34 along with Captain Frank Myler and rock-hard prop Cliff Watson provided the experience. But there were a number of tourists in their early twenties. Dave Chisnall, Bob Irving, Jimmy Thompson and of course a young Mal Reilly and Roger Millward to name a few.
The Great Britain Rugby League 1970 tourists were up against a very good Australian team. The team included five players in Graeme Langlands, Arthur Beetson, Ron Coote, Billy Smith and Bob Fulton. They became part of the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.
The tour began up in Darwin against Northern Territory, then played in Townsville, Rockhampton, Gympie. The week before the first test you played Queensland in Brisbane before a crowd of 17,000 – defeating them 32-7.
The first test was a sell-out almost 43,000 and although the score was 37-15 – it perhaps flattered the Aussies.
After the defeat, the Lions played Toowoomba, then Brisbane before travelling to Sydney to play New South Wales. This was virtually another test match. The NSW team featured Langlands, Smith, O’Reilly and Coote in their line-up.
Down 6 points to 2 at half-time, Johnny Whiteley managed to motivate the team for an amazing turnaround.
Although the final score was 17-17. Great Britain outscored what was virtually a full Aussie Test team in their own back yard by three tries to one.
The second test became a magnificent performance by 28-7 victory. Outscoring the Aussies by four tries, they cope with a 12-5 penalty count against them, and a man sent off.
The Lions then played four matches in eight days in Bathurst, Sydney, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga. This showed tremendous spirit, not just from the Test players, but the whole squad to win all four matches.
So on to the third test on the 4th July 1970 at the SCG in front of a partisan crowd of 61,000. The scoreline of 21 points to 17, just does not do justice to the outstanding performance. Five tries to one is a resounding victory, but having to cope with a 15 to 8 penalty against them made the victory even sweeter. Both John Atkinson and Roger Millward – had arguably their best games in the Lions jersey. We celebrate with our YouTube Video.
The Aussies had kindly scheduled a game in Wollongong – the very next day after the Test!
Matches and Scores
Then it was off to New Zealand for the second part of the tour, but the players were determined to keep their focus.
There was one warm-up game before the first test – against Northern XIII in Tokoroa which they won 42 -17.
On to the first test – although the scoreline of 19-15 suggested it a tight game – the Lions scored five tries to the Kiwis single score. It was virtually the same team that had defeated the Aussies in the final test with Barry Seabourne coming in at scrum-half and Mick Shoebottom retaining his place at full back.
The Lions then defeated West Coast in Greymouth, before travelling to Auckland for the second and final test match. This game wasn’t straight forward as the Kiwis led 11 – 2 at half-time and the Lions looked in trouble.
Whatever said at half-time it had the desired result. They scored seven tries to brush aside the kiwis – a remarkable turnaround. The team included Castleford’s Hooker Johnny Ward playing at Prop alongside Cliff Watson and Tony Fisher.
The final game of the tour two days later was against Auckland and the Lions comfortably won 23-8.
So, the 1970 Lions played 24 games over two and a half months. They won 22 of their matches, lost 1 and drew 1. They scored 753 points, conceded only 288 points and were watched by a total number of 370,034 spectators – making them the most successful Great Britain team of all time!
The team was recently presented with commemorative Medals at the Ellis Rugby sponsored Rugby League Lions Luncheonby the Rugby Football League.
Most Rugby League media reported the teams’ get together, including Love Rugby League.
This Vintage Great Britain Rugby League shirt is inspired by Reilly & Millward’s outstanding performances on the 1970 tour. We also offer a Vintage Great Britain Rugby League Lions Polo shirt.
Rugby League Cares
With every sale, Rugby League Cares receives a donation as a charity. That donation helps players transition out of the sport. Moreover, it supports players past and present who are enduring poor health or hardship. RL Cares and Ellis Rugby partnership page.
Manufactured from satin touch 100% cotton, the Hall of Fame Rugby League jersey features a detailed appliqué Crest. Other features include herringbone finish on the vents and tape on the neck opening. The available sizes are S to 5XL.
Small, Medium, Large, X Large, 2X Large, 3X Large, 4X Large, 5X Large
Malcolm Reilly, Roger Millward