Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
Welcome to Getting Shirty With Chris Clarkson. I had the opportunity to ask former Hull KR and current York City Knights player Chris Clarkson some questions about the shirts which he has worn in his Rugby League career to date.
NAME – Chris Clarkson
CLUBS – Leeds Rhinos, Widnes Vikings (loan), Hull Kingston Rovers, Castleford Tigers and York City Knights
POSITIONS – Second Row, Loose Forward and Prop Forward
STATS FOR HULL KR – (2016-2018)
HERITAGE NUMBER – #1193
APPEARANCES – 80
TRIES – 10
(A special thank you to Bryan & Jonathon for providing the stats)
The versatile Chris Clarkson was a product of the Leeds Rhinos academy after signing up at the age of 16. Chris made his name in the academy team at Leeds Rhinos and was named in the starting XIII for the victory over St Helens in the 2007 Academy Grand Final. In 2010 Chris made his debut for Leeds in the Super League against future employers, Hull Kingston Rovers. A 17-10 defeat at Headingley, saw Chris play on the wing. During his debut season in the first team, Chris would also play at Wembley in the Challenge Cup Final, a 30-6 defeat at the hands of Warrington Wolves.
2011 saw Chris play in another Challenge Cup Final defeat at Wembley, this time against Wigan Warriors. However, Chris didn’t have to wait much longer to win his first title in professional Rugby League though as Leeds came out on top against St Helens in the 2011 Grand Final at Old Trafford.
2012 was also successful for Chris and Leeds Rhinos as they went on to win the World Cup Challenge defeating Manly Sea Eagles 26-12 and also retain their Super League crown by winning the Grand Final. Leeds and Chris would have to wait until 2014 to appear in another final, and it would be a special one. After 2 defeats in Challenge Cup Finals, Chris won the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 2014, after defeating Yorkshire rivals and once again future employers, Castleford Tigers. After making over 100 appearances for the Leeds, Chris moved to Widnes on loan in 2015, before signing for Hull Kingston Rovers on a 3-year-deal ahead of the 2016 season.
Chris’ time at Hull KR was very eventful, in his first season, the Club competed in the ‘Million Pound Game’ against Salford and was subsequently relegated from the Super League. In 2017, at the first time of asking Hull KR gained promotion back to the Super League, by winning the League Leaders Shield in the Championship, and finishing 3rd in The Qualifiers. 2018 would be Chris’s final season at Craven Park, where he helped the club to avoid relegation and retain its place in the Countries premier division.
Chris spent the 2019 season with the Castleford Tigers, after being successful in earning a contract after an initial trial period with the Tigers. Chris is currently a member of the playing staff at York City Knights, although their 2020 season has been curtailed, Chris has signed on again to represent the Knights in 2021.
Getting Shirty With Chris Clarkson
MC – Chris, what is your favourite Hull KR shirt you’ve played in?
CC – My favourite is the 2018 away shirt. It is Grey and Pink with MLS Group on the front. For me, Looking back 2018 was, in my opinion, my best year in a Hull KR shirt. I personally really enjoyed some of the rugby I and the team played that year. It was probably the first time I felt comfortable in my performances on the field since leaving Leeds Rhinos.
MC – What is your favourite rugby shirt (excluding Hull KR) you’ve ever played in?
CC – I’d have to say the 2011 Leeds Rhinos home shirt, which we won the Super League Grand Final in. When I think about it that’s the shirt I can really remember vividly. It was all over Blue with a Yellow band across the front. It was simple but very effective for me.
MC – Is there a shirt you’ve played in and thought, “man, this is awful”?
CC – I would have to say one we wore in 2017 when we were in the Championship, it was the away shirt that year and was Turquoise/Green and Orange. I wasn’t a big fan of the colour combination. Although, 2017 was a memorable year, both on and off the field. We were a very close team and it was obviously a successful year as we gained promotion back to the Super League, at the first time of asking.
MC – Do you have a favourite or prefered squad number and position?
CC – #13 is my favourite squad number. It reminds me of some of the greats who played at #13 including Kevin Sinfield, Andy Farrell and Paul Sculthorpe. I was lucky enough to wear #13 in 2016 with Hull KR. However, I don’t believe I did it justice. The squad number I’ve played the most rugby is #18 and that was at Leeds Rhinos.
MC – Does your choice of squad number reflect your favourite playing position?
CC – Yes, for me definitely. I’d have to say #13 is my favourite position, but I don’t mind anywhere in the middle. I’ve played a lot in the second row in the past 12 years, but being in the middle where I can defend well and often, is my favourite. I find I also get my hands on the ball a lot more in the middle.
MC – Do you have any superstitions with regards to club kit and getting ready for a game? (One sock on before the other or wouldn’t warm up in playing jersey, for example)
CC – I used to not like warming up in my playing shirt, as I wanted to keep it clean, but that has changed in the last couple of seasons for no reason at all. I now wear my shirt underneath a warm-up top when warming up pre-game.
MC – What is your favourite rugby shirt of all time, Chris?
CC – My favourite is the 2006 Great Britain shirt from when they famously beat Australia. Some of GB’s greatest players played in that game and I’ve been lucky enough to play both with and against most of them in club rugby.
MC – You’ve played in some big games in your career including multiple Grand Finals and Challenge Cup Finals. Do you still have the shirts you wore in those games and what do they mean to you?
CC – Yeah, I have all the shirts from the big games. Grand Finals’, Challenge Cups’ and World Club Challenges’. They’re all stored safely away in a training bag and something I’ll look back on in years to come and be proud of. They’re stored along with all the other shirts I have from various clubs. At that time in my early career, I probably didn’t appreciate how lucky I was or how hard I’d worked to get in that position. It’s something that I’m very grateful for now and I appreciate the memories that I have. One of my favourite final shirts is from the 2007 Academy Grand Final, where we beat St Helens. My playing shirt from that game is framed and hung up in my Nana and Grandad’s house.
MC – How many shirts per season would you normally wear as a player?
CC – I think it would be 2 home shirts and 2 away shirts then a charity shirt of some kind that we’d wear as a one-off. We’d normally have our main jersey that would get washed every week and one spare if any got damaged. It was easy for some of the kitman to get replacement shirts though.
MC – Would you have liked more?
CC – I think I’m happy with the one or two shirts we get. They hold more sentimental value to a player, rather than having so many at the end of the year.
MC – What would normally happen to the shirts you wore, which you got to keep at the end of a season?
CC – I have them stored away in one of my training bags in the garage. I’m sure I’ll get them all out one day when I’ve finished playing and look back on the memories in them all. Last year was a nice touch by Castleford though, they framed my shirt and presented it to me when I was leaving the club, which is the only time that’s happened to me, so that is something I will always cherish.
That’s everything from Chris Clarkson in this Q&A with Hull KR Shirts. I’d just like to once again thank Chris for taking the time do the Q&A and wish him all the best in his career.
Here is Chris’s 2016 Third Shirt / Charity Shirt which was issued to him for the RNLI fixture against his former club, Leeds Rhinos. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t feature in that game so this shirt is only player issued and not match-worn.
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Getting Shirty With Chris Clarkson. Who else would you like to Hull KR Shirts have a Q&A with? Tag them on this post on Twitter and we’ll see who is interested in getting involved.