Paul Thorburn (OH 1974 - 1981)
19/09/2012
Paul joined the school in 1974 being the youngest of three brothers. He soon made his mark in sport, representing School and County in Athletics, Cricket and of course Rugby.

On leaving HCS, P T went to Swansea University where he gained an Honours Degree in Microbiology. Whilst there he joined Neath RFC and played for Wales B, going on to gain his first full cap against France in 1985. He won a further 36 caps for Wales, 10 as Captain, and became the then record points scorer for Wales.

During a Five Nations match in 1986 v. Scotland at Wales's former home ground ( Cardiff Arms Park ) Paul took a penalty kick from well inside his own 22 to clinch the match for his country. Not only was it an historic achievement for Pauls' team but, it represents a record in the history of the game which is unlikely to be surpassed.

Paul was a member of the Wales squad which took part in the inaugural Rugby World Cup ( RWC ) in New Zealand in 1987.

Wales became the only Home Nation to reach the last four, after they beat Australia 25 - 23 in the Third Place playoff match in Rotorura. Australia were ranked 2nd in the world back then and Paul was responsible for kicking 12 of the points. New Zealand won the Webb Ellis Cup that year but, until RWC 2011 when they become the host nation, the Kiwis have not yet re-gained the trophy.

Thorburn retired from international rugby in 1991 following the devastating defeat against Australia 6 – 63 when he toured as Wales captain. As a result, he missed out on RWC 1991 which was staged in England that year. He would however contribute to the competition again when he was appointed Tournament Director for RWC 1999 held in The Principality.

Paul will undoubtedly be pleased with the performance of the national side of late, Wales having recently won the Grand Slam with no fewer than 5/6 players from his former club in the squad.

Since retiring from playing, P T has been involved in management with Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, the Welsh Development

Agency as well as that of RWC 1999 as stated above. He later returned to his rugby roots by becoming Strategic Development Manager for Ospreys Rugby in 2006, a post which he takes on with great enthusiasm.

Paul was guest of honour at the School Speech Day in July 2007. Below is an extract from his talk.

" The irony of all of this is that it was because of my academic achievements that I managed to achieve my life long ambition of playing rugby for Wales. Had I not gone to University, my rugby career would have taken a very different path and with every likelihood that my ability would have gone unnoticed. However, through playing for Swansea University, I was selected to represent Welsh Universities, then British Universities and from that moment, my career in rugby changed for the better."

" Being selected to play in the 1st XV for Neath RFC, one of Britain’s most successful teams in the mid to late 80’s, this gave me the necessary platform in my first season with the Club, whilst in my second year at University, I gained my first cap for Wales.”
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