Rugby union player
|Birth||8 February 1942, Bloemfontein|
Thomas Pleydell ‘Tommy’ Bedford (born 8 February 1942 in Bloemfontein, South Africa) is a South African rugby union player who has represented the national team, the Springboks, 25 times, captaining the Springboks on 3 occasions.
Tommy Bedford won the first of his 25 caps against Australia as a flank forward on 13 July 1963. Though he appeared as a 21-year-old flank forward in six Test matches, it was the number 8 position that established him as a player of outstanding quality on the international scene.
A very athletic and dynamic number 8 he formed a remarkably efficient and complementary back-row partnership with Jan Ellis and Piet Greyling. He made his debut against the Lions in an historic Test at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria – the first ever international in which replacements were allowed for injury, though no more than four players per team could be replaced in a match at the time. He played number 8 in all four Tests against the 1968 Lions with South Africa winning the tightly-fought series 3-0, with one drawn, when in both the first and third Tests the winning margin was only five points. The young Durban architect, who captained his provincial team Natal, also led his country three times, against Australia (twice) and Scotland on the 1969 tour to Britain and Ireland.
Despite his prowess as a player and captain, it is thought that his relentless and uncompromising criticism of the apartheid system and the rugby establishment contributed to a premature end of his playing career. He retired from international rugby after the drawn Test with France in Durban in 1971.
Professionally, he was an architect who, in 1965, was elected a Rhodes scholar.
Notes and references
Dawie de Villiers