M.C. Thomas

Born 25 April 1929, Machen, Wales
Died 9 April 2012, Burnham, England


264th player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
6 caps
Played against the Army in 1949, 1950, 1951
Played against the Royal Air Force 1949, 1950, 1951


Inter Service Record

Played 6 Won 2 Drew 2 Lost 2
Inter Service Titles 1

1949 Royal Navy 3 Army 3
1949 Royal Navy 0 Royal Air Force 11
1950 Royal Navy 6 Army 16
1950 Royal Navy 6 Royal Air Force 6
1951 Royal Navy 11 Army 0
1951 Royal Navy 6 Royal Air Force 5



London Welsh
Devonport Services




Malcolm Campbell Thomas British Lions, Wales, the Barbarians, Crawshays, London Welsh, Newport, his teams like the man are thoroughbreds in the British and welsh game. However if US Portsmouth can be rightly proud of their Kershaw and Davies halfback pairing from the 1920s then their port rivals, Devonport Services, can be equally proud of their centre pairing of Thomas and Jones.

Malcolm Thomas was one of the most versatile back line players of his time who captained the Navy team in two Inter Service championship campaigns winning the title in 1951. It is believed that he is the youngest player to have captained the Navy side, 19 (possibly 20) in the 1950 Inter Service championship. For Wales he played in every position in the backline apart from scrum half, a testament to his versatility. In 1950 he was the youngest tourist selected for the British Lions visit to Australia and New Zealand. Incidentally, as an aside, this was the first tour when the British Lions wore red jerseys changing from their previous blue to avoid a class with New Zealand. He toured again with the Lions in 1959, again to New Zealand, becoming the only British Lion to have toured by both sea and air. In total he played 32 times for the Lions scoring 13 tries in the process.

In Wales he is fondly remembered for his try, as a nineteen year old, that secured the welsh their first triple crown for thirty nine years in the 1950 Five Nations. The match was against Ireland at Belfast’s Ravenhill ground and Thomas was playing on the wing, the score was three all with only a couple of minutes to play. The Western Mail journalist of the time, John Billott, described the moment far better than I ever could:

“Ireland heeled in their own 25. Jackie Kyle was bound to clear to touch. But Ray Cale pounced round the scrum to harass Carroll. As the scrum half desperately shovelled the ball out ot Kyle, Cale went with it. The ball rolled loose. Cleaver picked up and fed Lewis Jones: the winning try was taking shape.
“Lewis Jones, in his new position of centre, drew full back Norton and sent a long pass swinging out to Malcolm Thomas. There were 15 yards to go as the Welsh wing threw back his head and ran for the Triple Crown.
“Corner-flaggers streamed across like a cloud of locusts. They hit Thomas as he dived for the corner. Down everyone crashed, corner flag and all. Was it a try? There were agonising, hour-long seconds before referee RA Beattie (Scotland) raised his arm and Wales had won.
“If Irish touch-judge Ossie Glasgow had signalled that Thomas had knocked down the flag before grounding the ball there would have been few Welsh protests. It was a marginal decision either way.”

Of course no TMO replays in those days.

Finally not only was Malcolm Thomas a fine rugby player he was also a talented cricketer with represented honours. His Daily Telegraph obituary can be found by clicking here. Also the Newport club website have a most interesting biography of him which can be found here.