Full name James Peters
Born July 1, 1879, Salford
Died March 1954, (registered in) Plymouth (aged 74 years days)
Major teams England
|Test debut||Scotland v England at Inverleith, Mar 17, 1906 match details|
|Last Test||England v Wales at Bristol, Jan 18, 1908 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Peters - the first black player to play for England in 1906 - lived a life that would not look out of place among Roald Dahl's twisted fairytales. The son of a West Indian circus performer, his early life involved bare-back riding before his father's death at the hands of a lion. Peters was later abandoned by a separate troupe and found his way to Fagen's orphanage in London - watching Blackheath play rugby and turning out for the orphanage team. A trained carpenter, he later found work in Bristol and played 35 games for the city's rugby team between 1900 and 1902 despite protestations from several committee members.
His profession then took him to the Royal Naval Dockyards in Plymouth - where he began a successful relationship with Plymouth Albion and also the Devon county team in 1903. His England bow in 1906 - against Scotland at Inverleith - came in the same year that the touring Springboks refused to play Devon due to Peters' selection at fly-half. The South African high commissioner stepped in and the game eventually went ahead in front of a crowd of 18,000. Peters was nevertheless overlooked by England for their meeting with the Boks but he did play for his country again, against Ireland and Scotland in 1907 and Wales in 1908. He later 'went north' to play in the fledgling rugby league structures after a retirement gift from Plymouth, following an injury at work that cost Peters three fingers, was misconstrued as payment by the strictly-amateur authorities.