Vince Karalius

Vince Karalius

Interview with Vince Karalius
1932 - 2008

The Late Vince Karalius was born on 15th October 1932 in Widnes, Cheshire, England. He signed for the St. Helens Rugby League Club in August 1951 for a fee of £200.

He was picked for the 1958 Great Britain ashes touring team to Australia and New Zealand and played a large part in the Historic 2nd Test and subsequent series win against Australia.

Vince played at loose forward in the 1956 and 1961 St. Helens Challenge Cup winning teams at Wembley. He also played for his home town club Widnes in the 1964 Challenge Cup win.

He was the first forward to be inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

He was given the coaching job at Widnes and started building the team which went on to win multi Challenge Cup Finals.

Vince with Challeng Cup

Vince Karalius Widnes lifts the Challenge Cup

Vince 1966

1966 Test Series in Australia

​To purchase a DVD copy of the Vince Karalius Interview see bottom of the Page

In the summer of 2007, it was my privilege finally to meet, listen to and learn from, one of the all time “Greats” of our glorious sport.

I had first contacted Vince in 2006 to ask if he would agree to an interview with the National Archive to discuss his illustrious careers, as both player and coach. To my surprise, I found a man who was genuinely humbled that the followers of Rugby League should want to listen to him talking about a subject that was one of his great passions.

So, eventually, almost one year later, I finally met the man who had become a true legend of the Game. The venue was his second home, Widnes RL Club’s, Halton Stadium.

We spent three hours together on what was a beautiful summer’s day. This was also the day on which I gained a deep understanding as to why Vince was viewed as the ultimate inspiration of so many of the other “Greats” of Rugby League that I had been fortunate to interview in the preceding two years.

From the outset he exuded the charisma and personal warmth that demonstrated why he was so respected amongst his peers in the game. During filming he was a delight. He shared with us his insights into his beloved game and into the characters within it, many of whom had become lifelong friends. He vividly described the G.B. v Australia matches as ‘like being at war’, but despite this, the huge respect that he had for the players he had fought with and played against in the Battles for the Ashes, flowed in his passionate choice of words, despite the fifty intervening years.

It was therefore with great sadness that I learned of Vince’s death just before last Christmas.

My sympathy goes out to his family and friends for their great personal loss.

Our “Game” too has lost one of the outstanding men of his or any other generation. His passing is felt by all members of his extended rugby league family.

His peers have invariably described Vince as, “an inspiring man who was natural leader”. His athletic prowess, his strength and world renowned toughness, allied to a shrewd rugby brain combined to make him one of the greatest forwards that our game has seen. His record of achievement is a true testimony to his qualities as man, a player, and a coach.

Probably, the ultimate accolade for Vince came when he was affectionately christened by the sports journalists in Australia, with a label that stayed with him to the end of his days, that of the ‘Wild Bull of the Pampas’.

As I stated at the outset, it was a privilege to interview Vince and to get to know him, sadly for such a short time. I know that this is a view that will resonate with everyone who was equally privileged to meet a truly inspiring human being.

Farewell Vince, you will never to be forgotten.

Leslie Smith

Part 1 of Interview

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David Marsh

The interview with Vince was superb. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing him talk about his career. He was a great player and one of the kindest, most unassuming men you could wish to meet.​