Phil Cantillon

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Phil Cantillon
Phil Cantillon.jpg
Personal information
Born (1976-06-02) 2 June 1976 (age 40)
Wigan, England
Playing information
Position Hooker
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1992–95 Wigan
1995–97 Keighley Cougars 75 34 104
1997–98 Leeds Rhinos 23 11 0 0 44
1999–04 Widnes Vikings 159 117 0 0 468
2004 Halifax 29 14 0 0 36
2005–06 Rochdale Hornets 58 29 116
2007 Blackpool Panthers – Player coach 31 21 84
Total 375 226 0 0 852
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1992–95 Great Britain 7 6 0 0 24
1996–03 England 8 4 0 0 16
2003–06 Ireland 7 10 0 0 40
Source: RLP Profile

Phil Cantillon (born 2 June 1976) is an England and Ireland dual international former rugby league footballer who played professionally from 1992 to 2007. He successfully captained Ireland and gained legendary and iconic status through breaking numerous try scoring world records at club and international level. He is recognised as the most prolific and greatest try scoring forward in the history of the game with over 250 first grade tries

Playing career[edit]

Cantillon signed for his hometown club Wigan in 1992 and represented Great Britain Academy from 1992–95, captaining the international team on the Australian tour in 1994 and playing in the end of year Premiership cup finals at Old Trafford in 1994 and 1995.

With the launch of Super League in 1995 and the move from winter to summer sport, Great Britain coach Phil Larder signed Cantillon for the then star studded Keighley Cougars – becoming an immediate star with his no nonsense style and try scoring ability. He scored a hat trick on his debut against Wakefield, gaining star status and quickly gaining full international honours by the end of the year.

Cantillon went on to 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 Premiership Final at Old Trafford before moving to Leeds two years later, losing to Wigan in the Inaugural Super League Grand Final in 1998. He then signed for Widnes Vikings for the start of the 1999 season.

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 an iconic and greatest try scoring forward to have ever played the game. He also scored one of fastest tries in the history of the game in 2000, scoring after a staggering 18 seconds of play. He was named in the top five best hookers in the world during 1999–2004 . [1]

He was credited for the evolution of the modern day hooker role during the nineties and noughties through his captaincy,support play, evasive running, try scoring ability and defensive qualities.[2]

Cantillon played for Widnes where he ran up a remarkable tally of 117 tries in five (5) years, 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. Cantillon is placed ninth in the all-time list of club try scorers which features many legends from the Widnes cup kings and world champions era of dominance, with the highest ever for a forward.[3] Cantillon was also selected for England for the World Sevens in Australia in 2003, taking them to the final loss against Parramatta Eels with two (2) tries in a man of the match performance in both the semi-final against Manly and France in the quarter finals. "[4]

During his five (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 and iconic Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley in doing so. Cantillon also holds the world record for most tries in a match with seven (7), racking up a total of 117 tries from 159 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. .[5] After several years away, Cantillon returned to Wigan in July 2002 in the runup to the Super League playoffs.[4]

Cantillon was named captain of the Ireland national rugby league team in 2003,[6] 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 four (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 ten (10) and most tries in a match with four (4), taking them to be ranked 2nd best international team in Europe. [7]

Cantillon retired from professional Rugby League as a record breaking dual international in 2007 after making over 400 appearances spanning a 16 season professional career, scoring over 250 tries with successful spells at Wigan, Keighley Cougars, Leeds Rhinos, Widnes Vikings, Halifax,[8] Rochdale Hornets and finally a player coach role at the now defunct Blackpool. Cantillon went on to 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. [9]

Whilst still playing professionally in the early 2000s, and following his retirement, Cantillon was successfully appointed in a number of general manager positions in the commercial, not for profit and local government sector.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ < "Cantillon Quits". Manchester Evening News. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cantillon and the evolution of the hooker". Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Cantillon's Grand Final Man of the Match". Rugby League Com. 14 July 2001. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Whalley, John (26 July 2002). "Cantillon gunning for Wigan". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cantillon's try record". Liverpool Echo. 11 June 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Laybourn, Ian (25 October 2003). "RUGBY LEAGUE : Cantillon named as Irish skipper". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ireland Cup Final Berth". CTE. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "2004 Statistics...". Halifax RLFC. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rugby Legends Play". Widnes News. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 

External links[edit]