Rugby League World Cup 2021 match ball named in honour of Clive Sullivan

The official match ball at next year’s Rugby League World Cup will be named in honour of Clive Sullivan MBE.

The tournament will be held 50 years on from the World Cup of 1972, when Sullivan captained Great Britain to their most recent triumph.

Sullivan was the first black sportsman to captain a British national team and scored a famous try in the final against Australia.

Today the ‘Sully Ball’, named in his honour, was unveiled at the MKM Stadium, the home of Hull FC where Sullivan remains the all-time leading try scorer.

The ball, supplied by Steeden and designed in collaboration with the Sullivan family, will be used in all 61 matches at next autumn’s World Cup across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments.

“Clive Sullivan is a true British sporting icon,” said Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 chief executive. “A pioneer in our sport and the captain of the last British Rugby League World Cup winning team.

“It is important to celebrate the rich and vibrant heritage that the sport has and this is a wonderful opportunity to bring to life a key moment from past history. What Clive achieved in Rugby League is phenomenal and the wider impact he had in sport and society will always be remembered.”

Anthony Sullivan, son of Clive and a former Wales and Great Britain international, said: “My father would be both honoured and humbled to see his achievements recognised in this manner.

“He would, I am sure, take this opportunity to pay tribute to his teammates and the staff involved in that inspirational World Cup victory.

“For all of the family it will be very special to see him appreciated in this way and for his name to positively impact future generations within the sport.”

Mike Stevenson, a fellow member of the 1972 World Cup-winning team, added: “Clive was a fantastic teammate and continues to be a great ambassador for our game.

“Through this brilliant initiative we have the opportunity to educate the next generation of fans on the journey of our sport and the positive role Clive played in its success.”