Rugby League: International dies of heart attack aged 33

ROY POWELL, one of rugby league's most respected players, has died suddenly at the age of 33.

Powell, capped 19 times by Great Britain between 1985 and 1991, suffered what is thought to have been a heart attack on his way to training at Rochdale Hornets yesterday and was pronounced dead on arriving at hospital.

A hard-working second-row and latterly prop forward, Powell made his name with Leeds, later moving to Bradford, Featherstone and Batley. This winter he joined Hornets, who have now lost two players in swift succession, following the death two months ago of Karl Marriott, also from a heart attack, at the age of 28.

Powell, who was given the nickname Bruno because of his likeness to the boxer, was one of the fittest players of his generation as well as one of the best-liked. Hugely popular at Leeds, he was taken by one of his coaches there, Peter Fox, to Bradford, where he held together an ageing pack until he became one of the casualties of a mass clear-out under the new coach Brian Smith in 1995.

That was the end of his career in the top division, but he lost none of his enthusiasm for the game. At Batley, he had helped his old friend, Deryck Fox, with the coaching and was to do the same at Rochdale.

"He would have made a good coach, because he never lost his temper," said his mentor, Peter Fox, yesterday. "I used to play hell with him, telling him that if he'd had a fraction of my aggression he'd have been a world-beater - but it just wasn't in him.

"He was a smashing lad who would do anything for anybody. On the field he would forage forever. Whenever you needed him, he was there. He was a fantastic worker, but he could also release the ball - something he developed later in his career."

Although he was in the wrong places at the wrong times to win honours at club level - the Trans-Pennine Cup with Batley last season was an exception - he had some memorable days in Test match rugby, none better than the one in Australia in 1988. The Great Britain touring party, 2-0 down in the series and badly hit by injuries, was being pilloried by a hostile Australian press.

Powell was part of the Great Britain pack that broke a 10-year drought by beating Australia 26-12 in Sydney, a win that ranks alongside the Rorke's Drift Test in 1914 and the 1958 Battle of Brisbane as British rugby league highpoints of tours Down Under.

Great Britain teams looked incomplete without him for more than half a decade, with his wholehearted approach to training and touring almost as big an asset as his appetite for work on the field. His approachability also made him one of the most popular senior players with younger hopefuls coming into the squad, whom he was always eager to help develop their own abilities.

Powell kept his feet on the ground by continuing in his trade as a plasterer in his native Dewsbury for most of his professional playing career. He leaves a widow, Helen, and two children, four-year-old Lewis and Melissa, seven months old.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£22000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary English Teacher...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

General Cover Teacher - Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...

English Teacher Urgently Required - Secure Unit - Nottingham

£100 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Are you a fully qualified ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on