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Warrington’s World Cup heroes – Bobby Wanbon
BOBBY Wanbon was a member of the first Welsh squad to figure in a Rugby League World Cup tournament in 1975.
He made three appearances on the southern hemisphere leg of the competition, which was spread across nine months on both sides of the world.
Wanbon’s most renowned game was the unexpected 12-7 defeat of Alex Murphy’s England side at Lang Park in Brisbane.
Partnering Widnes’ Jim Mills in the Wales front row, they set about knocking the stuffing out of an England pack that included Warrington’s Dave Chisnall in what was described as a ‘vicious’ match.
Wanbon and Mills had, in fact, been arch rivals in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley one month earlier.
Wales’ win played its part in costing England the title in the long-winded series.
Wanbon also took to the field in the subsequent defeats to Australia in Sydney and New Zealand in Auckland.
After being signed by Murphy from St Helens in 1971, he was a key figure in the Warrington pack which dominated the domestic campaign in 1973/74, featuring in the Captain Morgan Trophy Final win against Featherstone, the John Player success against Rochdale, the Challenge Cup Final triumph against Featherstone and the Club Championship Final glory day against St Helens.
Wanbon was a native of Port Talbot, south Wales, and played rugby union for Aberavon.
His international debut also came in rugby union for Wales, scoring a try against England at Twickenham.
Wanbon still lives in the area and has worked as a pub tenant at both the King and Queen in Padgate and the Red Lion in Stockton Heath.
Log on again tomorrow for another feature on a Warrington World Cup hero.
Click on the following links to read about other Warrington World Cup heroes that we have featured so far.