Great Britain Legends: Joe Thompson

Joe is on the second row from the back and second player from the left.

We are continuing to highlight our past players that have shone in a Great Britain jersey as Wayne Bennett’s side continue their tour of New Zealand this Saturday in Christchurch, kick off 7pm. Today, we highlight forward Joe Thompson, who spent eight years in a Great Britain jersey.

After switching from rugby union to join Leeds in 1923, the forward had already claimed his first silverware for the club, kicking five goals in the 28-3 Challenge Cup final win over Hull. A year later, Thompson was making his international debut as the Lions beat Australia 5-3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of nearly 34,000.

Despite missing the third test, he was soon back in the GB jersey to play in the first two matches against New Zealand, scoring a try and kicking two goals across both games.

Thompson played 12 times for Great Britain.

In 1928, he was a late selection due to Frank Gallagher withdrawing from the tour. Thompson took his place and made the most of his opportunity, playing in the second test defeat to Australia in July and the 6-5 third test victory over New Zealand in August. A year later he only made one appearance against the Green and Golds as Great Britain suffered one of their heaviest defeats in history; Thompson kicking a goal in the 31-8 loss.

The turn of the new decade saw the forward make his final tour and final appearances in the GB jersey. In 1932, he played in all three test matches to help Great Britain seal a 2-1 series win over Australia. He also featured in all three matches against New Zealand to close out his international career; the visitors claiming a 3-0 series victory down under.