Cope's Cigarette card featuring Lance Todd
|Full name||Lancelot Beaumont Todd|
|Born||20 September 1874|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Died||14 November 1942 (aged 68)|
|Height||170 cm (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||63.5 kg (10 st 0 lb)|
Lancelot Beaumont "Lance" Todd (20 September 1874 – 14 November 1942) was a New Zealand-born rugby league footballer and manager of the early 20th century. As a player, he represented New Zealand in 1907 and 1908 and played in England for the Wigan and Dewsbury clubs. He later became the manager at Salford and led the club to three League Championships and one Challenge Cup victory.
Rugby in New Zealand
Originally from Otahuhu where he played rugby union, Todd later joined the Parnell club and from here made the Auckland side. He did not make the All Blacks but this was due to the tremendous talent in front of him and he was still regarded as being a special player in the Auckland scene. He was selected for the North Island in 1907 but did not play due to, along with eleven other players, refusing to sign a declaration that they would remain amateur players.
He was picked for the professional All Blacks 1907–1908 rugby tour of Great Britain and Australia and subsequently, like all members of the tour, received a life ban from the New Zealand Rugby Union. Todd had been involved in organising the tour and served on the Management Committee. During the tour he excelled at the game of rugby league, playing in four Test matches, and scoring eight tries in all games. He was one of five players who opted to stay in Great Britain at the tour's end.
Rugby League in England
He was signed by Wigan after the tour for £400 and the captaincy, and he became an outstanding centre, making 186 appearances for the club. He was later joined by fellow tourist Massa Johnston and All Black Charlie Seeling.
Lance Todd played left-centre, i.e. number 4, in Wigan's 10-9 victory over Oldham in the 1908 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1908–09 season at Wheater's Field, Broughton, on Saturday 19 December 1908, and played left-centre, i.e. number 4, and scored a try in the 21-5 victory over Rochdale Hornets in the 1912 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1912–13 season at Weaste, Salford, on Wednesday 11 December 1912.
At the end of the 1908–09 Northern Rugby Football Union season Todd played at centre in Wigan's victory over Oldham in the Championship Final. He was also a member of the first Wigan Rugby League Challenge Cup Final line-up, which they lost to Broughton Rangers in 1911.
The Auckland Rugby League was recognised by England's Northern Rugby Football Union as New Zealand's governing body for the game of rugby league, with Lance Todd to act as their delegate in England.
During November 1910, he played twice for Lancashire, when his aggregate of two tries and two goals helped seal the county title. In 1914, he transferred, unexpectedly, to Dewsbury for a fee of £450 – a huge fee at the time, (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £139,900 in 2013). He left Dewsbury during the First World War to serve with the ANZACs.
In 1928 he became the team manager at Salford, achieving legendary status. Salford were close to folding when he joined but his management turned them into a formidable and successful team. During the 1930s Salford won three League Championships, five Lancashire League Championships, four Lancashire Cups, and was the coach in Salford's 7-4 victory over Barrow in the 1938 Challenge Cup Final during the 1937–38 season at Wembley Stadium, London, in front of a crowd of 51,243.. He stayed at Salford until August 1940 when club directors decided not to renew his contract whilst the country was at war with Germany.
In 1933, as well his work at Salford, he became the Rugby League commentator for BBC Radio. "Mr Lance B. Todd presents running commentary on....." the rugby league game of the day was very common in the Radio listings during the 1930s.
Todd died on 14 November 1942, in a motor accident. An inquest into his death determined a verdict of "accidental death".
During World War II Todd was serving as a commandant to the Salford section of the Home Guard but it would be on a return home from duty in Oldham that the accident happened. A car he was driving swerved to avoid a collision with a tram, but crashed into a lampost. Todd died along with his colleague Colonel Frank Sewell in the front passenger seat. Two passengers in the rear seats of the car survived. Todd is buried in Wigan (Ince) cemetery.
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