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Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian

President Mickey Steele-Bodger's Barbarians last faced Wales in Cardiff in 2012 when Shane Williams figured, but also provided RWC warm-up opposition in June 2011, when Martyn Williams turned out for the all star BaaBaas side and Gavin Henson and Stephen Jones were in the Wales team - pictured here are: Sergio Parisse, Iosefa Tekori, Mathieu Bastareaud, Paul Sackey, Joe Van Niekerk, Paul Tito and Carl Hayman lining up for the national anthems in 2011. © Huw Evans Picture Agency

Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian

He may have played for England, but the larger than life Micky Steele-Bodger was a man who belonged to the wider rugby world.

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As President of the Barbarians he was known, respected and revered around the rugby playing world. As the man who raised a side every year to play his old university, Cambridge, ahead of the Varsity Match he was much loved and cherished.

He served as an England selector between 1953-68, a British & Irish Lions selector for the 1968 tour, served on the IRB, and became its chairman, sat on the Home Unions Board and became President of the RFU in 1973-74. He joined the Barbarians committee in 1946 and was President for 31 years from 1988 until his death at the age of 93 this week.

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He learned his rugby at Rugby School before going to Caius College, Cambridge to launch a career as a veterinary surgeon. He played in the last two War Time Varsity Matches before captaining the Light Blues in the first post-war game at Twickenham in 1945.

A fearless flanker he played twice against Wales for England in Victory Internationals in 1946 before winning the first of his nine full caps at Cardiff Arms Park in the first official international after WW2. England won 9-6.

A serious knee injury brought a premature end to his playing career at the age of 24, but his links with the game he loved and graced for so much of his life only grew stronger. He first raised a guest team to play against Cambridge in 1948 and the annual Steele-Bodger XV fixture remains one of the most important in the calendar for his old alma mater.

He helped to maintain many of the traditions of the Barbarians and ensured after the on-set of professionalism that the famous club remained relevant on the world stage.

He was one of the grandest, and most loved, figures in the game.

“Everyone in Welsh rugby has been extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Micky Steele-Bodger,” said WRU chairman Gareth Davies.

“Mickey was one of the game’s great characters, a true rugby enthusiast, committing so many years to his beloved Barbarians.

“Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”

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Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
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Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian
Chairman’s tribute to true Barbarian