CHILL-OUT SUNDAY THE ELLIS RUGBY ROY FRANCIS RUGBY LEAGUE – ‘AHEAD OF HIS TIME’ BOOK PREVIEW
Roy Francis Rugby League. Ahead of his time book preview.
Roy Francis Rugby League – Turned Professional at Seventeen
Roy Francis had a unique career in rugby that lasted for more than 40 years. After playing local club rugby union in South Wales for Brynmawr. In 1936, at the age of just 17. He switched codes to play professional rugby league for Wigan. After just over two years at Central Park. He then moved to Barrow in January 1939, where he played regularly for the first team.
Before and After The Second World War
When the Second World War was declared he joined the Army. And became a Physical Training Instructor. Despite his Welsh origins,. He was chosen for the England Rugby Union Services team. And played union and league during the War. At the club level, he played for the successful Dewsbury team. That was managed by future BBC commentator Eddie Waring.
After the War, he returned to Barrow. And, in 1947, became the first black player to play for Great Britain. He was also capped by Wales. Many people believe he should have been chosen for the 1946 ‘Invincibles’ British Lions tour. In 1948 he joined Warrington. And subsequently moved to Hull. At his peak as a winger or centre. He was an exciting player to watch. He had great pace and was a regular try scorer.
Roy Francis Rugby League at Hull FC
At Hull, he became player-coach in 1951. He is believed to be the first black coach of a senior professional team in any sport in Great Britain. And used his experience of rehabilitating injured soldiers in the War to become an outstanding, innovative coach. He built a team based on young players. Firstly, they won the Championship twice. Secondly, reached two Challenge Cup Finals. Finally, four Yorkshire Cup Finals. He built his teams around fitness. In addition, pace and a strong pack.
Roy Francis Rugby League at Leeds Rhinos
In 1963, he joined Leeds. He gradually rebuilt the team. Introduced young talent and, after finishing top of the league table twice. Won the Challenge Cup in 1968. The team’s Yorkshire Cup win the same year meant that Roy had won every major domestic club honour as a coach.
Coaching Rugby League at North Sydney
In 1969 he became coach of North Sydney. And, after two problematic years in Australia, returned home. A short spell at Hull in 1972 was followed by winning the Premiership. With Leeds in 1975. And saving Bradford from relegation in 1976. He retired from coaching in 1977.
Book Research and Foreword By Jim Mills
Based on detailed research. This book looks at both Roy’s playing and coaching careers. And the development of his work. He was considered years ahead of his time. And is now being recognised for the ideas he introduced. As well as the success he achieved. He died in 1989 at the age of 70.
With a foreword by Great Britain and Wales international player Jim Mills. Who played for Roy in Australia. Every rugby league fan will find this book of interest.
Author – Peter Lush
The author, Peter Lush, has been involved in rugby league for over 40 years. And has written widely on the game. He grew up in London, where he still lives. He has been watching rugby league since he went to a game at Fulham in October 1980. Along with Dave Farrar. In 1995, with Michael O’Hare, they wrote Touch and Go. A history of professional rugby league in London,. And Peter and Dave set up London League Publications Ltd.
Where to Buy Roy Francis Rugby League ‘Ahead of his Time’ Book?
The excellent book ‘Ahead of his Time’ is available from Rugby League Journal, or Amazon. Roy Francis coached both Leeds and Hull FC and we offer retro garments from these two famous clubs. Hull FC 1956 Rugby League Vintage Shirt and Leeds Rugby League 1956 Rugby League Shirt.