The Clive Sullivan Trophy: a great tribute to a rugby league legend

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by Tom Drinkall

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It’s almost time for the annual derby between Hull FC and Hull KR as they compete for the Clive Sullivan Trophy. Both teams have been playing for the trophy since 2001, but it’s now been given more significance as an annual fixture to ensure Clive Sullivan’s legacy is never forgotten.

As a teenager, Clive Sullivan required extensive operations on his knees, feet and shoulders – making a rugby career seem very unlikely. After joining the army in 1961, he was picked for an inter-corps rugby match and chose to play as admitting injury would have led to his removal out of the army. He planned to deliberately play badly to avoid being picked again but scored a long distance try without causing himself injury. After this spectacular try, Sullivan made the most of his army training to progress with his dreams of playing rugby.

clive sullivan h&s

By the age of 17, and after an unsuccessful trial game at Bradford Northern – he was approached by a touch judge and offered a trial for Hull. Sullivan scored three tries and was signed as a professional player the following day…and so began his rugby career.

During his career, Sullivan scored over 250 tries in 352 appearances for Hull FC, more than any other player. He switched over to Hull KR where he added a further 118 tries in 213 matches. As well as this, Clive Sullivan played for Great Britain in the Rugby League World cup and was the first black captain of any British national team.


Following his death in 1985, aged just 42, his memory was posthumously upheld with the naming of the main road into Hull on the A63 as the ‘Clive Sullivan Way.’ Fans of both Hull FC and Hull KR hold Clive in great esteem and the Clive Sullivan Trophy is a great tribute to a rugby league legend.

Don’t miss the game this Sunday – click here for information on how to book tickets.

Click here to watch the pre-match trailer.

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by Tom Drinkall

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