Phil Cantillon

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Phil Cantillon is a British former rugby league footballer who played professionally from 1992 to 2007.

Playing career[edit]

Cantillon moved from Wigan after signing for his hometown club in 1992 to Keighley Cougars in 1995 - becoming an immediate star with his no nonsense style and try scoring ability. Cantillon went onto play for England in the 1996 Super League World Nines in Fiji under Phil Larder eventually losing to Australia and scored a memorable full-length solo try in the 1996 Final at Old Trafford before moving to Leeds two years later and Widnes in 1999. The hooker and utility star became a firm favourite of the fans with cult figure status gained with spectator chants of "Oh ah Cantillon" in place at grounds everywhere. His electrifying burst of speed, leadership and superb balance served him well during a long and illustrious career, which saw him successfully captain Ireland Rugby League and break many try scoring records including world records, at club and international level. In doing so, Cantillon is recognised has the greatest try scoring forward to have ever played the game. [1]

Cantillon played for Widnes where he ran up a "remarkable tally of 102 tries in only three-and-a-half seasons playing over 100 consecutive games. Cantillon took out the Tom Bergin Trophy as man of the match in the 2001 Grand Final victory following another world class performance.[2] Cantillon was also selected for England for the World Sevens in Australia in 2003, taking them to the final with 2 tries in a man of the match performance in the semi final."[3]

During his 5 seasons at Widnes, Cantillon broke many try scoring records including a world record for most tries in a season with 48 in 2001 surpassing the legendary Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley in doing so. Cantillon also holds the world record for most tries in a match with 7, racking up a total of 117 tries from 152 appearances placing him in the top ten all time try scorers for Widnes. Cantillon's try scoring exploits catapulted Widnes back into Super League where they narrowly missed out on the top five (5). Cantillon broke the world record in 2000 for most tries by a hooker with 30, before yet another try scoring world record breaking season in 2001,were he displayed exceptional leadership and durability in leading the Vikings to success. [4]

After several years away, Cantillon returned to Wigan in July 2002 in the runup to the Super League playoffs.[3]

Cantillon was named captain of the Ireland national rugby league team in 2003,[5] qualifying for under the grandparent rule after firstly representing England. Ireland enjoyed an outstanding European Nations tournament, finally losing to France in Dublin, with firstly an away win versus Scotland in which Cantillon scored his first try for Ireland.

Cantillon led Ireland to the European Nations Final against England in 2004 scoring a record 4 tries in a semi final win against Scotland and to impressive World Cup qualifying wins against Russia and Lebanon in 2005 and 2006, ensuring they booked their place for the 2008 World Cup in Australia, signing of his performances by holding the record for number of tries scored by any player for Ireland R.L with 9 and most tries in a match with 4, and taking them to be ranked 2nd best team in Europe. [6]

Cantillon retired from professional Rugby League as a record breaking dual international in 2007 after making over 400 appearances over a 15-year professional career, scoring almost 200 tries with successful spells at Wigan, Keighley Cougars, Leeds Rhinos, Widnes Vikings, Halifax, Rochdale Hornets and finally a player coach role at Blackpool. Cantillon went onto play in 2011 with other Rugby League legends from over the past years in an effort to raise money for charity with Great Britain All Stars. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ < "Cantillon Quits". Manchester Evening News. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  2. ^ "Cantillon's Grand Final Man of the Match". Rugby League Com. 2001-07-14. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  3. ^ a b Whalley, John (2002-07-26). "Cantillon gunning for Wigan". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  4. ^ "Cantillon's try record". Liverpool Echo. 2001-06-11. Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  5. ^ Laybourn, Ian (2003-10-25). "RUGBY LEAGUE : Cantillon named as Irish skipper". Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  6. ^ "Ireland Cup Final Berth". CTE. 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  7. ^ "Rugby Legends Play". Widnes News. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 

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