Born in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, to Thomas and Alice Hirst. Father a Blast Furnace Manager, George attended Emanuel School, Wandsworth, London. He is the earliest known former pupil of that ancient school, founded in 1594, to achieve full international rugby honours. Won 6 Welsh caps between 1912 and 1914 with his first against Scotland in the 1912 victory at Swansea (21 v 6) in which he scored a debut try. His last cap came against Ireland in the 3 v 11 victory at the Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfast in 1914. An Engineering Apprentice in 1911, he played for Newport RFC 1910-11 to 1913-14 being top try scorer in 1912-13 with 25 tries and scoring 5 tries in one match against Southampton's Trojans at Rodney Parade in December 1913 (won 37 v 0). He is described in 'Newport Athletic Club 1875-1925' as "Heavy as well as fast, and very difficult to stop, especially when he swerved inward, he scored many great tries after most determined runs. He was a great kick and a good defensive player, but rather too inclined to trust to the flying kick". Unfortunately he broke his leg in a charity game at Bargoed in 1919 and had to retire. The following year he wrote an article for "Boys' Own" Annual entitled "Hints on Half and Three-quarter Play" which is reproduced in the 'Articles' section of this site here http://www.historyofnewport.co.uk/articles/article.php?id=000030 and gives a delightful insight of back play at the time. Father of Geoff who played for Pontypool and made 91 appearances for Newport 1949-50 to 1951-52.
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To coincide with the 2011-12 6Nations tournament Tony Jones, Archivist at Emanuel School, wrote an article for the school magazine "Portcullis", relating the story of George and the school spire:
"What spire you may ask? The spire on the school tower was removed in 1932 as it was rumoured to be dangerous and a tad rickety. However, around 25 years earlier the future rugby international climbed all the way up to the top, cricket stump in hand, and succeeded in turning round the weather vane, and winning a bet of two pence. George retold the story in the Lent 1933 Portcullis issue via letter:
"There were workmen doing something up there and they just had a two-plank platform outside at the last storey. This meant I had to climb up the ridge. With a stump in my hands I got on the planks and looked up and then down. The two-pence seemed then like a cabinet minister’s salary, so up I went and turned the weather vane round. Going up was easy compared with coming down on the corner of those slates. One slip and I would not have been writing to you today."
"We have a book award George won in 1904 Prize Day on display in the Archive, hopefully his success on the rugby field didn't inspire further Emanuel school boys to climb that shaky old spire. If you want to admire George's feat quite a few old pictures in the Archive show the tower, spire included." [Ed. see above]