H B Toft
Birth nameHerbert Toft
Date of birth2 October 1909
Place of birthSalford, Greater Manchester
Date of death7 July 1987(1987-07-07) (aged 77)
Place of death(registered in) Chichester
SchoolManchester Grammar School
UniversityManchester University[1]
Occupation(s)[Headmaster and Captain of England's Rugby Team]
Rugby union career
Position(s) Hooker
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1936-1939 England 10 (Pts:0;

Herbert Toft (1909–1987), known as H. B. Toft, Henry Toft, or Bert Toft, was a rugby union international who represented England from 1936 to 1939.[2] He also captained his country.[2]

Early life

Hebert Toft was born on 2 October 1909 in Salford.[2] He attended Manchester Grammar School and then Manchester University,[1] returning to his school to become a teacher and later headmaster.[1] Born Herbert Toft, he was known by a number of variations on this. Although named Herbert, by the time he was at university he was known as Henry. One explanation of why he then became known as H B Toft was that when it became apparent that of the founders of the Manchester XXI Club he was the only one with one forename, they rechristened him Henry "Bloody" Toft.[3] However, he had also been known as Bert due to a foreshortening of his birth name. This was combined with his nickname Henry such that he became known as Henry Bert Toft, and thence H B Toft. So ubiquitous was the use of Henry Bert Toft as his name that some commentators on the sport cite Henry Bert as his forenames.[4]

Rugby union career

Toft played for Sale Rugby Club and made his international debut on 21 March 1936 at Twickenham in the England vs Scotland match.[2] Of the 10 matches he played for his national side he was on the winning side on 7 occasions.[2] He played his final match for England on 18 March 1939 at Murrayfield in the Scotland vs England match.[2] His rugby career was interrupted by World War II when he left to serve in the Royal Air Force.


  1. ^ a b c Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, pages 141, 2008 (Vertical Editions:London)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Herbert Toft Profile on scrum.com
  3. ^ University of Manchester XXI Club – Club History: The First 25 Years – written by Allister Cranna (Cross Country 1944)
  4. ^ Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, pages 278, 2008 (Vertical Editions:London)