Expansionist Blog: Brad Billsborough on becoming Germany’s youngest ever captain

Drew Darbyshire

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Germany star Brad Billsborough is well travelled in the rugby league world. 

The young half-back came through the academy at boyhood club St Helens before having spells with Whitehaven and Swinton.

Billsborough then decided to take up an offer with Grafton Ghosts in Australia for the 2019 season before returning to the UK to play for Welsh outfit North Wales Crusaders in 2020.

But its on the international scene where the half-back has made a name for himself. He was born in England, but qualifies to play for Germany through his mother.

He said: “My mum is German, she was born in Berlin and Jimmy Keinhorst got in contact with me asking about my German heritage and that’s how playing for Germany came about.

“My grandad was in the Army and my nan lived over in Germany, so my mum was born there and she grew up there before they came back home.

“My mum has lived over here for 30-odd years now so she hasn’t got a German twang! I’m proud to play for Germany and I’ve played six international games now.”

In 2018, Billsborough etched his name in to the history books as he became Germany’s youngest ever captain.

He added: “It was a massive achievement to captain Germany.

“I was proud to lead a bunch of lads who don’t have a lot of experience in rugby league. I feel I can help some of the less experienced lads and there are a few other players who have played in the Championship and League 1 who represent Germany.”

Billsborough, who has made four appearances for Crusaders thus far, is even starting to learn the German language too.

He passionately continued: “I can’t have a full conversation in German yet but I can understand the plays and calls in German which helps me and the German lads out.

“The coach wants the heritage players to speak German because we are playing for Germany, so we do understand a bit of the language and try our best with it.”

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