Born 29th April 1935 in Bethlehem, Orange Free State, South Africa.
Signed for St. Helens in October 1957 for a then record fee of £7,230.
Tom was flown over to the U.K. in May 2006 to visit old friends and to take part in some question and answer evenings with R.L. fans at some of the Amateur clubs in the St. Helens area. These were a great success and proved his popularity with people in St. Helens and the wider R.L. family, many of whom would not have seen Tom in his playing days. We contacted Tom and he had no hesitation in agreeing to do an interview for the National Archive and we will be eternally grateful to him and Mike Donnison, who brought Tom over and looked after him on his trip.
After doing the interview and returning home, Tom was asked to come over again in August 2006 and to lead out the St. Helens team at the 2006 Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, a great honour for a great man.
In his 1 hour 40 minutes interview Tom tells us about his life in South Africa before signing for St. Helens to play the professional game.
He was the first player to score 3 tries in a Rugby Union International match on South African soil.
He explains how he came to sign for St. Helens and how Wigan missed out on his signature.
Throughout his career, tries he scored as a winger, were described as the greatest tries ever seen, he talks about these tries.
He topped the try scoring charts on many occasions playing 409 matches, scoring 392 tries for a total of 1176 points.
Below is a Clip from Tom van Vollenhoven's interview
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