Recognition for Roy Francis

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Roy Francis is a Rugby League legend - a great player and groundbreaking coach. He was loved not just in Wigan, Barrow, Hull and Leeds but throughout the game.

Many RL fans are rightly proud of the way we accepted black players into our teams, our communities and our hearts, especially so at a time when wider society was far less accepting.

Yet Roy Francis suffered discrimination at my club, Wigan, from a coach whose name is perpetuated in the highest individual award in RL - The Harry Sunderland Trophy.

"Francis developed rapidly, but his progress was curtailed when the Australian Harry Sunderland took over as coach and played the youngster in only seven of 86 games.

"The young winger was told he would not succeed at the club and it has been suggested - including by Francis himself - that the colour of his skin was the reason for his departure."


The Harry Sunderland Trophy should be renamed as The Roy Francis Trophy in recognition of Francis's contribution to RL and of the injustice he suffered.