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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own