Full name Maurice John Colclough
Born September 2, 1953, Oxford
Died January 21, 2006, Pembrokeshire (aged 52 years 141 days)
Major teams British and Irish Lions, Wasps, World XV, England, England XV
|British and Irish Lions||1980-1983||8||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||7||0||12.50|
|Test debut||Scotland v England at Murrayfield, Mar 4, 1978 match details|
|Last Test||France v England at Parc des Princes, Mar 15, 1986 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Maurice Colclough was, by the standards of the day, a giant of a man, standing more than 6'4" and weighing in at over 18 stone. His ginger hair just added to his wild and formidable image.
He learned his art playing in France - pioneer in an era where rugby over the channel was not what English amateurs did - and by the time he moved to Wasps he was formidable lock. Fran Cotton described him as "the strongest scrummager I ever came across," adding: "His calf muscles were like footballs. They were so big he had cut the sides of his socks to get them on."
He won 25 England caps between 1978 and 1986 but his finest hour came in 1980 when partnering England captain Bill Beaumont he helped England to a Grand Slam. He toured with the Lions in 1980 to South Africa and 1983 to New Zealand, playing in all eight Tests, and in 1983 he scored the decisive try as England beat the All Blacks at Twickenham for the first time since 1936.
Off the field he was just as formidable. After England's victory in Paris in 1982 his prank on prop Colin Smart backfired. Bottles of aftershave had been left next to each player, a small gift from the hosts. Colclough emptied his and replaced the contents with white wine which, Smart's attention having been got by a colleague, he downed. Smart, challenged to do the same, immediately downed his, collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. Scrum-half Steve Smith quipped, "Colin was in a bad way, but his breath smelt lovely".
When captain at Wasps, his pre-match speeches were the stuff of legend. "Maurice's words contained more spittle and invective than imagery," a team-mate told the Daily Telegraph. "He finished once with a tumultuous battle-cry, then turned to lead us out on to the pitch and fell over on the highly polished floor."
Former England skipper Roger Uttley said: "Maurice should have been a wild colonial boy in another age. He was an entrepreneur, rugby's Arthur Daley."
Injuries eventually took their toll and Colclough retired, finishing his nomadic career with Swansea. He lived for a time in South Africa but returned to Wales as his health started failing. He died aged 52 after battling a brain tumour.