Great Britain Legends: David Ward

LES BOYD/ david ward ACTION AUSTRALIA RUGBY LEAGUE ©VARLEY PICTURE AGENCY 1982

2019 marks the return of Great Britain to the international rugby league stage after twelve years, with Wayne Bennett’s squad touring New Zealand throughout November.

To celebrate, we are taking a look back at past players that have shone in the GB strip and today is former captain GB and Leeds captain and Leeds Rugby Hall of Famer, hooker David Ward.

After making his debut for England in March of 1977, Ward was soon on the Great Britain roster too, debuting in the World Championship. Alongside Leeds team mate Steve Pitchford, the two were among six debutants that beat France 23-4 in Auckland. A week later, Great Britain claimed a convincing 30-12 win over the home nation New Zealand in Christchurch. Defeat to Australia in the final regular match of the tournament would be Ward’s last match that year, missing out on facing the Green and Golds in the final, which Australia won 13-12.

Back on home soil, Ward was named in the 1978 squad to competed with Australia for the Ashes. He only started the first game at Central Park, Wigan, and was on the receiving end of another defeat, seeing him drop out of the match day squad for the remaining games. A year later, he was again a Lion, touring Australia and New Zealand. Unlike previous series’ and competitions, he didn’t miss a game, starting all six matches as Britain lost all three games against Australia but won the New Zealand series 2-1.

DAVID WARD ACTION LEEDS RL RUGBY LEAGUE 1970-2007 ©VARLEY PICTURE AGENCY

When the Kiwi’s made the return trip to the northern hemisphere in 1980, Ward wasn’t selected but as a Yorkshire Cup winner, he was recalled to the national side as captain for the first time against France at The Boulevard in Hull; GB displaying a resounding 37-0 performance. It would be the only time he would lead his country though as he missed the next fixture against the French outfit in Marseilles.

Ward’s final game for the Lions came in 1982 when the Kangaroos travelled to a three match tour. Again Ward was only present in the first game at Boothferry Park, losing the ‘cannon-fodder’ test 40-4 to close out his test career.