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Cambridge University rugby great Micky Steele-Bodger dies aged 93

Rugby great and two-time Cambridge University Blue Micky Steele-Bodger has died, aged 93.

Micky Steele-Bodger. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10029106)
Micky Steele-Bodger. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10029106)

Steele-Bodger was one of the most famous names in rugby, having been an England and British Lions selector, president of the Rugby Football Union, chairman of the International Rugby Board and president of the Barbarians.

In Cambridge, the Gonville & Caius graduate is most widely known for inaugurating the annual Steele-Bodger XV match, which is held on the penultimate Wednesday every November and shuts down the city.

Steele-Bodger had played for Cambridge in the Varsity Match in 1945 and 1946 and the traditional fixture began when Windsor Lewis asked Steele-Bodger, as a then current international player and recent Blue, to raise a team to test Cambridge ahead of facing Oxford in the Varsity Match.

The first game was held in 1947, celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017, and during that time Steele-Bodger only missed two matches.

Steele-Bodger, a flanker, earned nine caps for England and captained the Barbarians twice, scoring the first try in their inaugural match against Australia in 1948. But his playing career was ended by injury in 1949.

RFU president Chris Kelly said: “Micky was a rugby man through and through and devoted much of his life and passion to the game.

“He was greatly respected by all who knew him and will be hugely missed.

“We are all proud to have shared his enjoyment of our sport and are indebted to him for the many roles he served with such distinction and especially grateful to his wife, Muff; his children, Guy, Duncan and Clair; his nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren for sharing him with us.”

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Micky Steele-Bodger influence on Cambridge University RUFC hailed by greats

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