The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Steve Nash

How did they do it? Rovers went from having Don Fox at scrum-half, to Carl Dooler, and when Dooler was about to leave, yet another world-class scrum-half rolled straight off the production line. Whereas Fox and Dooler never received the international recognition their undoubted talents deserved, Steve Nash managed to establish himself as the top scrum-half in Britain for a number of seasons. His tally of 24 Great Britain caps at number seven is bettered only by Alex Murphy and Andy Gregory. Born in Post Office Road itself, Nash actually started out at stand-off in March 1967, but within a year was first choice scrum-half, a position he held until his transfer to Salford in the summer of 1975.

    If God was going to design the perfect scrum-half he might come up with somebody who looks a lot like Steve Nash. A little short in stature at 5ft 7ins, but deceptively strong, with real pace off the mark, a good passer and organiser, an excellent kicking game and that little bit of cheek that all scrum-halves should have. Steve Nash had the lot. His rise to the top of the game was rapid, gaining county and international honours for the first time in 1971. The 72/73 season was his best at Featherstone. In October he helped Great Britain to win the World Cup in France, thus becoming only the second ever Featherstone player (after Jimmy Thompson) to appear in a World Cup final. Then he took Rovers to second place in the league and to win the Challenge Cup final at Wembley, where he scooped the Lance Todd trophy (following in the footsteps of Carl Dooler, Don Fox and Billy Stott). His Wembley performance was vintage Nash, linking well with a skilful pack of forwards, always dangerous with the ball in hand, beating numerous men and putting team-mates into gaps. He chipped over a trademark drop-goal for good measure too.

The following year he played against the Kangaroo tourists, helped Rovers back to Wembley and starred on the 1974 GB Lions tour of Australia. His final year was somewhat injury hit, and after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 1975 he was reluctantly sold to Salford. The £15,000 Rovers received may not sound much now, but at the time represented a world record fee! He had made 201 appearances for Rovers scoring 52 tries and 299 points. At Salford he played a further 271 games and wrote himself into the record books there, winning the Championship in his first season and playing in another World Cup final in 1977. He made his second Lions tour in 1979, and finally finished playing after a serious eye injury in 1984.