World Cup Wednesdays: Two try hero Brown helps Great Britain lift inaugural World Cup
Each Wednesday in the build up the 2021 Rugby League World Cups, we will have a special feature as we build up to the biggest ever World Cup in the game’s history looking at those who helped create the legacy and who will be aiming to make their own history this Autumn.
In our second edition, we remember Leeds centre Gordon Brown who scored twice as Great Britain defeated France in France to lift the inaugural Ruby League World Cup back in November 1954.
Stand off Brown (heritage number 868) was at Headingley for ten seasons, making 253 appearances. A product of local schools rugby and a post-War junior international, he made his debut at centre in the final game of the 1949-50 season, a 10-7 home win over Halifax.
He posted his first try at Keighley at the start of the following campaign but it was against Leigh in October 1953, in a narrow home defeat, that he first wore the number six shirt, scoring a try and indicating that was his natural position.
His form over the following year was such that when a seemingly depleted GB squad was picked for the World Cup, owing to most of those who had toured with the recently returning Lions withdrawing, he was included.
He scored two tries in a first-up win over the Aussies in Lyon, one national newspaper headlining the exploits, ‘Salute the new Britain – Forty years later the spirit of Rorke’s Drift can still confound the Aussies’ – and crossed again in a 13-all draw with France in front of a record crowd for the sport across the Channel of almost 38,000 in Toulouse.
He was again on the mark as New Zealand were beaten in Bordeaux, leaving Great Britain and the hosts on level points in the table. A hastily arranged final was staged at the Parc des Princes, Paris, an astonishing 30,000 turning up to watch Brown mesmerise Puig Aubert’s men. His two touchdowns took him to six in the tournament as Dave Valentine’s men won 16-12 and he was carried shoulder high by his team mates on the final whistle.
He gained two more Test caps, against the touring Kiwis in 1955, scoring a try in defeat in the Third Test at Headingley, but a severe knee injury plagued him from thereon in, causing him to miss most of the 1956-57 campaign and a trip to the Twin Towers for Leeds Challenge Cup victory.
In all he posted 94 tries for Leeds, leaving for Keighley in 1960, a year before the Loiners claimed the Championship.
DON’T MISS OUT ON YOUR TICKET FOR THE 2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP
The next opportunity to purchase tickets will be during general sale. Be the first to know when the window opens by registering for ticket alerts today. Click here for more information.
The innovative one-stop shop ‘Squad Trips’ provides instant access to tickets as part of a package with accommodation and access to local Leeds attractions.
Additionally, fans who have already booked their place at RLWC2021 during the ticket sales phases have the chance to add accommodation and activities to their previous ticket purchases and create memories outside of the 80 minutes, offering something for every fan whether they are attending their first match or a loyal supporter.
Book your Squad Trip in Leeds now: https://leeds.rlwc2021.com/
Premium seats and Hospitality experiences remain on sale and available for all matches in Leeds – giving fans the opportunity to secure a place at the tournament in addition to enjoying the best match day experience each venue has to offer. More details available at rlwc2021.com/hospitality