Thursday, 9th May 2019 @ 19:55
Club saddened to hear about the passing of rugby legend
It is with considerable regret that Harlequins has heard the news that former Harlequin and England international, Micky Steele-Bodger, has died.
Michael Roland ‘Micky’ Steele-Bodger was one of rugby’s unique characters and was the last surviving Harlequin who played for the Club during the Second World War. He went on to become the powerhouse behind the Barbarians.
Micky came from a family of vets; his father was one as was his brother. It was while he was studying at Cambridge University for his veterinary qualifications that he was persuaded to turn out for Harlequins in the annual wartime match against Rosslyn Park on April 2nd 1945.
By then he had already played in two wartime Varsity matches. Micky also represented Quins in the club’s first match in the first regular season after WW2. Again, Rosslyn Park were the opponents.
Micky’s Cambridge and international commitments meant that he played only a handful of matches for the Club. He played for England in three of the ‘Victory’ internationals before gaining nine full caps. His captaincy of the Varsity side meant that he made his one and final appearance for Harlequins in the 1946/7 season before leaving for Edinburgh University to further his studies.
Subsequently, Micky played in the Barbarians’ first match against a touring side (the Wallabies) in 1948. This was the start of his life long association with that famous club. Although a horrific knee injury cruelly ended his playing career in 1950 at the young age of 25, this did not stop his life-long association with rugby.
He went on to become an England selector, a British and Irish Lions selector, an RFU President and Chairman of the International Rugby Board. He organised the annual match between Cambridge and the Steele-Bodger XV which has been played without fail for the last 71 years. However, his most significant contribution was to the Barbarians for whom, as President since 1988, he has been the driving force that ensured they have survived and flourished in the professional era.
Micky, the player, was a tough, dynamic flanker who never accepted second best. His passion and enthusiasm for the game helped ensure that rugby is a game for all to enjoy.
The thoughts and sympathy of the whole Harlequin family are with his wife, Muff, his children Guy, Duncan and Clair, and his grandchildren and great grandchildren.