RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP 1972 GREAT BRITAIN (Part One)
The Rugby League World Cup 1972. It was 1954 all over again. As Great Britain scored a memorable triumph to win the sixth World Cup tournament in 1972. And, fittingly, the inspirational captain of the first British World Cup winners in France 18 years before, Dave Valentine, was present. He was amongst a small band of Great Britain supporters. And watched them do it in an epic final in Lyon.
The similarities between 1954 and 1972 were uncanny. Not just for the fact that the tournament was again staged in France. And played at many of the same stadiums. These stadiums also went on to host numerous games in the 1998 soccer World Cup. But, also because Great Britain once again crossed the channel with the ‘no hoper’ tag around their necks.
Australia was defending the world crown. That they had won two years earlier in that infamous battle of Headingley. Whilst Great Britain just as in 1954 had a new crop of players. And they were eager to rebuild from the international Ashes triumph by the 1970 Lions.
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The omens had not looked good for Britain. As the famous 1970 team broke up after its disappointment in the World Cup Final of that year. Twelve months earlier against New Zealand. A new look British team flopped embarrassingly. This enabled the Kiwis to win a Test series on British soil for the first time. Since Albert Baskiville’s original pioneers, the ‘All Golds’, way back in 1908.
It was going to require a remarkable up-turn in the level of performance by the Great Britain team. For them to win the 1972 World Cup. And there’s little doubt the Australians. Who had little knowledge of the quality of the new breed of players in the British team. Went into the tournament over-confident and believing they couldn’t lose.
But Britain got the up-turn they needed. Thanks to the introduction of virtually a whole new team of players. Who rapidly established their reputations as internationals of the highest quality.
Great Britain Rugby League stars sought by Australian Clubs
So much so that the Aussies, who had never heard of them before, were falling over themselves to sign the British stars to follow in the footsteps of Malcolm Reilly, who had already departed for Manly. Among the men the Australian clubs were to get were Phil Lowe, Mick Stevenson and Brian Lockwood.
The Rugby League World Cup may have been won in Lyon, but it was effectively won in Perpignan in the group stages against the Aussies.
It was widely quoted how the British boys had arrived in the Catalan city to see the super-fit, super-confident Aussies strolling around, looking awesomely invincible.
But reputations counted for nothings a Great Britain pack, anchored by the veteran Terry Clawson – who also proved to be a valuable goal-kicker thought the tournament – marshaled by clever hooker Stephenson from Dewsbury, and featuring a mighty back-three of Lowe, Lockwood and George Nicholls, outsmarted Arthur Beetson and his men.
The British won a superb none-try thriller at the Sate Gilbert Brutus, 27-21, much to the joy of the Catalan crowd who got behind the underdogs as they knocked the confident Aussies off their stride.
Rugby League Cares and Manufacturing
With every sale, Rugby League Cares receives donations as a charity. Donations help players transition out of the sport. Also, it supports players’ past and present who are enduring poor health or hardship.
The 1972 Rugby League T-Shirt World Cup Vintage Navy features a puff print technique that provides a 3D effect. This style is available in Navy or White and is available in sizes S to 5XL.
Also, we also offer a Great Britain Rugby League Shirt 1958. In addition the Vintage Great Britain Rugby League Shirt 1970.