6 Aug 2020

#RFL125 Factfile | Billy Boston MBE

#RFL125 Factfile | Billy Boston MBE

Wigan, Wales and Great Britain legend

On this day in 1934, the one of the sport’s greatest-ever players and the Northern Hemisphere’s most prolific try-scorer of all-time was born – Billy Boston MBE.

Boston was born in Butetown, Cardiff, and spent his early years playing Rugby Union for the CIAC’s RFC, Pontypridd RFC and Neath RFC before coming to the attention of Wigan Warriors. 

The Welsh flyer would become one of Wigan’s all-time greats spending 15 seasons with the club between 1953 and 1968. 

Boston was known for his incredible try-scoring ability crossing for 478 tries in 487 games in the Cherry and White. This means he is the second-highest try-scorer of all-time behind only fellow great Brian Bevan.

During his time with Wigan, Boston would lift three Challenge Cup trophies in 1958, 1959 and 1965. He crossed for two tries in the 30-13 victory over Hull FC in 1959.

He helped Wigan to the 1959-60 Championship with Boston and centre partner Eric Ashton both notching doubles in their 27-3 Final victory over Wakefield Trinity. Boston also scored in Wigan’s 1958 Lancashire County Cup triumph over Oldham. 

The 1956-57 season was Boston’s most impressive in terms of try-scoring as he crossed for a mammoth 60 tries for the Warriors. He was also the top try-scorer in the 1961-62 season with 51.

Boston also impressed on the International stage scoring 24 tries in 31 appearances for Great Britain Rugby League in Test Matches. He also became the first-ever player to score four tries against New Zealand.

The winger was the first black player selected to go on tour Down Under in 1954 and set a record of 36 tries across all 18 Tour Matches. He would represent Great Britain on Tour in 1962, scoring another 22 tries. 

Following his retirement from the game he was awarded an MBE for his services to Rugby League in 1986. He would become one of nine inductees to celebrate the opening of the Rugby Football League Hall of Fame in 1988.

The ‘Billy Boston Stand’ was named in his honour at Wigan Warriors old home of Central Park before the Warriors carried over the honour to the East Stand at the DW Stadium.

He also took control of the Griffin Hotel Pub located near Central Park which was often occupied by Wigan supporters wanting to talk to the legendary figure.