On the 50th anniversary of Great Britain’s last Ashes series win against Australia, Club Historian Bill Dalton looks into the Black & Whites’ international heritage and the players who have previously been selected to represent GB!
Last Autumn saw the return of the Great Britain Lions to our Rugby League vocabulary. It is the first time we saw a side play under such a name since the decision to re-brand our national Rugby League team as ‘England’ following the home test series against New Zealand in Autumn 2007.
Previous to 2019, the last of the traditional ‘Ashes’ tours to Australia were staged in Summer 1992. I was proud to have supported Great Britain on the 1988 Tour and again, for the full Tour in 1992.
However, the adoption of ‘England’ in 2007 was the latest in a series of name changes dating back to the early years of the game. The first British team to represent our country played under the banner of “Northern Union” when the pioneer New Zealand ‘All Golds’ came to our shores.
Our own Hull FC full-back, Harry Taylor had the honour of captaining the British in that first-ever series.
‘England’ was adopted after the First World War and it was not until 4th October 1947 that a ‘Great Britain’ team took the field at Headingley against New Zealand.
Although ultimately an unsuccessful tour for Great Britain, Jake Connor was the Black & White representation in 2019, with Josh Jones also featuring heavily throughout before becoming a Hull FC player.
Those of our players having been honoured with tour selection in various competitions are:-
|1924||Australasia||Harold Bowman, Stan Whitty|
|1928||Australasia||Harold Bowman, Elwyn Gwynne|
|1954||France (World Cup)||Robin Coverdale, Johnny Whiteley|
|1958||Australasia||Tommy Harris, John Whiteley, Jim Drake (Withdrew)|
|1957||Australia (World Cup)||Tommy Harris, Johnny Whiteley|
|1968||Australia (World Cup)||Clive Sullivan|
|1972||France (World Cup)||Clive Sullivan|
|1979||Australasia||Steve Norton, Charlie Stone|
|1984||Australasia||Lee Crooks, Wayne Proctor, Gary Schofield|
|1990||Australasia||Paul Eastwood, Lee Jackson|
|1992||Australasia||Paul Eastwood, Lee Jackson, Steve McNamara|
|2006||Australasia (Tri-Nations)||Kirk Yeaman, Gareth Raynor, Garreth Carvell, Richard Horne|