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Colin McFadyean


Colin William McFadyean was born on 11th March 1943 in Plymouth . He went to Bristol Grammar School and started his club rugby at Clifton while still at School in 1962. A story, from a friend, from his time at Bristol Grammar goes

Colin was flyhalf for the First XV at BGS, and I first saw him play at Golden Hill. I remember him collecting the ball behind his own posts and accelerating so quickly that he collided with a post and snapped it at its root clean out of the ground as he continued running clearing the ball to touch.

Playing scrum half with him was the legendary Dave Polly Perkins, a friend to the world itself, who has lead a distinguished life as has Colin both in rugby and teaching.

When Colin played flyhalf for BGS against St Brendans School, opposite him was Brendan Perry, father of Matt Perry, who also played for England . The master in charge of the first XV, Mr David Trott said to me, "Rees", for it was I, "you are watching the future fly halfs of England ."

He was almost right, as it took another generation for Matt Perry to fulfil that side of the equation, be it from full back and for Bath RFC.

He made his debut for Clifton against the French 1st Division club Stade Marmande of Bordeaux while on a tour of France in 1962, and scored two tries in a 16-11 win.

Above the Clifton and Marmandise sides that played on 22nd April 1962. Colin McFadyeans debut for Clifton . He scored 2 tries in an 18-12 win for Clifton . He is standing third from the left.

Colin McFadyean was captain of the 1965 Loughborough College team that lost the final of the Middlesex Sevens to London Scottish 15-8.

Standing (L-R): ?, Norman Barker, Alan Dobbins, Dave Rollitt, Ron Tennick, ?. Crouching: Geoff Davies, Colin McFadyean, Gerald Davies.

Above the Loughborough Colleges side captained by Clifton RFC player Colin McFadyean which lost to London Scottish 15-8 in the final of the Middlesex 7's. Loughborough did win the Middlesex 7's the following season although it was without Colin McFadyean.

He won eleven caps for England , the last two as captain. His caps were won in succession while a club player at Moseley . He scored a drop goal against Scotland on 19th March 1966, and tries against Ireland on 11th February 1967, a brace against Scotland on 18th March 1967 and another in his first match as captain against Wales on 20th January 1968.


Above Colin McFadyean's final try for England on his debut as captain v Wales on 20th January 1968.

He toured with the British Lions in 1966 to Australia , New Zealand and Canada . A disappointing tour saw four tests lost to the All Blacks, the highlight of the tour being the 31-0 win against Australia in Brisbane on 4th June.

 Back Row (L-R): D.Rutherford (England), A.R.Lewis (Wales), D.K.Jones (Wales), D.L.Powell (England), K.W.Kennedy (Ireland), S.J.Watkins (Wales), D.Grant (Scotland), C.M.H.Gibson (Ireland), C.W.McFadyean (England), S.Wilson (Scotland), F.A.Laidlaw (Scotland). Middle Row: K.F.Savage (England), H.Norris (Wales), D.Williams (Wales), R.A.Lamont (Ireland), W.J.McBride (Ireland), B.Price (Wales), W.D.Thomas (Wales), F.P.K.Bresnihan (Ireland), G.Prothero (Wales), A.J.W.Hinshelwood (Scotland). Front Row: D.Watkins ( Wales ), D.I.Bebb ( Wales ), R.J.McLoughlin ( Ireland ), J.W.Telfer ( Scotland ), Mr D.J.O'Brian (hon. manager), M.J.Campbell-Lamerton (capt.) ( Scotland ), Mr J.D.Robins (hon.assistant to manager), A.E.I.Pask ( Wales ), M.P.Weston ( England ), N.A.Murphy ( Ireland ), R.M.Young ( Ireland ). Absent: J.C.Walsh ( Ireland )

Above the 1966 Bristol Lions with ex Clifton RFC player Colin McFadyean.


The England team that played Wales on 20th January 1968, Colin McFadyean’s first match as England captain. (L-R) Back Row: D.W. Brown (touch judge), B.W. Redwood ( Bristol ), B. Keen ( Newcastle University ), D.H. Prout ( Northampton ), R.H. Lloyd (Harlequins), B.R. West ( Northampton ), M.J. Parsons ( Northampton ), D.J. Gay ( Bath ), R.B. Hiller (Harlequins), M.J. Coulman, D.P. d'Arcy (referee). Seated: P.J. Bell (Blackheath ), J.F. Finlan (Moseley), C.W. McFadyean [captain] (Moseley), J.V. Pullin ( Bristol ), P.J. Larter ( Northampton ), K.F. Savage ( Northampton ).


In 1991 he became head coach at Bristol and then Cleve, until sidelined by a knee replacement in 2000. In 2001 McFadyean was Deputy Head of Ilminster Avenue Primary School in Bristol .

At the launch of the book For College, Club & Country – A History of Clifton Rugby Football match last year I met Colin. He got out of his pocket a trivial pursuit he had kept. “I can’t believe I found this question”, he said, “Which England captain has never won or lost a game in charge”. I’d never thought about it before. Colin must be the only England captain to hold this honour unless someone knows otherwise.



© Patrick Casey, 2010
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