Mike Burton (rugby union)

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Michael Alan "Mike" Burton (born 18 December 1945 in Maidenhead) is a former English rugby union footballer, who won a reputation as an uncompromising prop forward for Gloucester, England and the British and Irish Lions.

Burton made his debut in the Gloucester front row at the age of 18 on 14 November 1964. He went on to make 360 appearances before retiring in 1978. He was captain of the same club in 1975. Gloucester was his only club but he played 40 times for Gloucestershire in the county championship winning it four times. He won the John Player Cup with Gloucester at Twickenham in 1972 against Moseley and in 1978 against Leicester.

He made his England debut in 1972 against Wales and toured South Africa with an undefeated England side that year as a member of the test team that defeated the Springboks on Ellis Park 18-9. England took him on the tours of New Zealand in 1973 and Australia in 1975 where he became the first Englishman to be sent off at international level.

In the second Test against Australia ("The Battle of Brisbane") Burton was sensationally sent off after just three minutes by local Queensland referee Bob Burnett for a late tackle on the Australian winger Doug Osborne. The match had started with punch-up between the packs and the disciplinary hearing that followed ruled that no further punishment was necessary.

In 1974 Burton toured South Africa again, this time as a member of Willie John McBride's invincible British and Irish Lions team. He won a total of seventeen England caps and represented the famous invitational club The Barbarians on eight occasions.

His autobiography Never Stay Down told of a tough upbringing in post war Britain and his single minded determination to succeed.

After retiring from rugby he became a successful businessman in the field of corporate hospitality, specialist sports travel and event management. He lives in a small village near Gloucester with his wife Patricia (married 1967).

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