Player Profile

Clive Sullivan - Wing

Wales RL
Clive Sullivan
Heritage No267
Date Of Birth09/04/1943
Place Of BirthCardiff
ClubsHull FC, Doncaster, Hull Kingston Rovers, Oldham RLFC, British Army RU
HonoursWales RL, Great Britain
ManagedDoncaster, Hull FC
Clive A. Sullivan MBE was the first black captain for Great Britain in any sport, the second black captain of any British national sporting side - the first for 90 years - and the first ever in Rugby League, leading Great Britain to the 1972 Rugby League World Cup. He scored a try in each of Great Britain's four games that year with one becoming one the most famous in the history of the World Cup - a length of the field run against Australia in the World Cup Final - which was enough to secure the trophy for GB. This try and win brought him national attention. He was featured on "This is Your Life" on January 3, 1973, one of only two WRL internationals to be featured (the second being Jonathan Davies) and was awarded the MBE in the 1974 New Year's Honours List. He won a total of 17 GB caps and played in a further 10 tour games. For Wales, he won 15 caps, four of them in the 1975 World Championship, including the win over England in the famous "Battle of Brisbane" where he scored one of the tries in the game that went some way to prevent England from winning the trophy.

Growing up in the Splott district of Cardiff, Clive started playing rugby at school, as a teenager he had operations on his knees, feet, and shoulders and doctors believed he wouldn't walk again, let alone have a successful rugby league career. He joined Hull FC after being posted to the area whilst in the armed forces. For this club, he played a total of 352 games, scoring 250 tries, before transferring over the city, playing 213 games for Hull Kingston Rovers and scoring 118 tries. He won Yorkshire Cup honours with both sides. Following Rovers, he had short playing stints at Oldham, Hull again and then Doncaster as player coach. In total, his club career saw him rack up 371 tries which was 1,113 points, in 592 games.

When he died of cancer in 1985 aged just 42, the city of Hull held him in such high regard that a section of the city's main approach road (the A63) between the Humber Bridge, and the city centre was renamed Clive Sullivan Way in his honour. Since 2001, the Clive Sullivan Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Derby match between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers in recognition of his service to both local clubs. He still holds two records for Hull FC which are: most tries in a career (250) and most tries in a match (7) against Doncaster on 15 April 1968.

In 2009, Clive was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame, having already been inducted into the same at Hull FC. In December 2020 he was named as one of three Welsh rugby league players to be honoured with a new statue in Cardiff Bay, the other two being Billy Boston and Gus Risman. On April 9th, 2021, Google celebrated Clive Sullivan’s 78th Birthday with a Google Doodle. In December 2021, it was decided that the World Cup ball for the 2022 tournament would be named after him.

His son Anthony also played for Wales.
1968-1969 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 3
1969-1970 4 1 0 3 3 0 0 9
1974-1975 5 3 0 2 6 0 0 18
1975-1976 3 1 0 2 0 0 0 0
1976-1977 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
1977-1978 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 6
1978-1979 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 19 7 0 12 12 0 0 36
Note: The statistics tab shows all of the player’s known appearances for this particular Wales side against international sides or other non-capped recognised first class matches. To see exactly how many full test rugby league caps for Wales (or any other country) that this player has, please click the “Test Summary” tab. Nines individual player records are not shown, please click here for full details about Nines. Please also note that clubs’ current names are used throughout this website, due to the database only being able to feed one name per club (e.g. Wigan will also be known as Wigan Warriors throughout all player profiles).
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