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‘Special’ Hall of Fame honour for York RL great Mick Sullivan
FORMER York Rugby League star Mick Sullivan is to be added into the sport’s Hall of Fame.
Sullivan, 79, will be inducted in a celebration dinner at Huddersfield tonight, along with Lewis Jones, Martin Offiah and Garry Schofield, ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup match between England and Ireland at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The quartet take the number of Hall of Famers to 21 and are the first to join since 2005. RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “Lewis, Martin, Garry and Mick are recognised as four of the greatest British sportsmen of the last century.
“All four played important roles for their countries in World Cups and to be able to induct them into the Hall of Fame while the sport is celebrating its most successful World Cup of all time makes it even more special.”
A biography released by the Rugby Football League said: “Mick Sullivan set the standard when it came to playing Test football for Great Britain.
“The wing powerhouse set a (then) appearance record of 46 Tests between 1954 and 1963, scored an unsurpassed 41 tries and played a record 36 consecutive Tests following his debut at centre in the World Cup defeat of Australia at Lyon.
“Tough and uncompromising in defence as well as being a prolific attacking weapon, Sully appeared in the first three World Cups, winning the trophy in 1954 and 1960, in addition to playing each Test in the Ashes-winning series of 1956, 1959 and, on foreign soil, in 1958 and 1962.
“He scored a hat-trick in the deciding Test in Sydney when the Lions clinched that 1958 series and scored a record 38 tries in 19 tour appearances that year, shattering the 36-try mark set by Billy Boston on the preceding Lions tour four years earlier.”
Sullivan was a Huddersfield player when starring in Great Britain’s triumph in the inaugural 1954 World Cup.
He was York’s nemesis when Huddersfield beat them in the 1957 Yorkshire Cup final, but he thrilled the Minster city crowd when in the Yorkshire team that played Australia at York’s old Clarence Street home in 1959 and became a favourite at that ground in the twilight of his career.
His final Test for Great Britain – a 50-12 Ashes defeat to Australia at Swinton in 1963 – came while he was at York, then a Second Division club. He became one of only seven York players to have represented the Lions.
Sullivan, a plumber by trade, had previously been involved in record-breaking transfers when joining Wigan for £9,500 in 1957 and moving on to St Helens for £11,000 in 1961, and finished his domestic career, following his sojourn to York, as player-coach at hometown club Dewsbury, prior to a spell down under.
He remains the 18th-highest British-based try-scorer of all time, with 342 touchdowns in 14 seasons. Twelve of those came in his time at York, for whom he made 44 appearances between 1962 and 1964/5.
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