Billy Boston

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Billy Boston
Billy Boston 1954.JPG
Boston in 1954
Personal information
Full name William John Boston
Born (1934-08-06) 6 August 1934 (age 82)[1]
Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
Playing information
Rugby union
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1952 Pontypridd 1
Rugby league
Position Wing, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1953–68 Wigan 488 478 7 0 1448
1969–70 Blackpool Borough 11 5 0 0 15
Total 499 483 7 0 1463
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1954–62 Great Britain 31 24 0 0 72
1955 Welsh XIII 1 0 0 0 3
1955 Other Nationalities 2 5 0 0 15
1956 English XIII 1 1 0 0 3
Source: RLP

William John "Billy" Boston MBE (born 6 August 1934) is a retired rugby league footballer who played as a winger or centre. Born in Cardiff, Wales, Boston started his career as a rugby union player before joining Wigan in 1953. He spent the next 15 years at Wigan, where he scored a club-record 478 tries in his 488 appearances for the club. He finished his career at Blackpool Borough before retiring in 1970. He also represented Great Britain in 31 Test matches, and was part of the team that won the 1960 Rugby League World Cup.

Regarded as one of the sport's greatest ever players, Boston scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second-highest try scorer in rugby league history. He is an original inductee of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and Wigan Warriors Hall of Fame, and was awarded an MBE in 1986.


He was born on 6 August 1934 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff and played rugby union for the CIAC's RFC, Pontypridd RFC and Neath RFC.

Playing career[edit]

Wigan were alerted to him when he was serving with the Royal Signals at Catterick and when he made his 'A' team début a crowd of 8,000 assembled inside Central Park, Wigan. He made his first team début against Barrow in November 1953 scoring a try.

Billy Boston played Stand-off/Five-eighth in Wigan's 8-13 defeat by Oldham in the 1957 Lancashire Cup final during the 1957–58 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 19 October 1957.

For the next fifteen seasons he was a living legend and played his final game in 1968. With Boston on the Right-Wing and Eric Ashton playing at Right-Centre, Wigan had one of the best combinations in the history of the game. Both players scored doubles in Wigan's 1959–60 Northern Rugby Football League season Championship final victory. Boston had an astonishing turn of speed for a big man and had the ultimate side step and was also able to hand off opponents with apparent ease.

Boston also played 31 games for Great Britain and was the first player to score four tries in a game against New Zealand. He was the first non-white player to be selected to tour Australia and New Zealand in 1954, on which he set a new record of 36 tries in 18 games. Boston also played in the 1962 tour, scoring a further 22 tries.[2]

Billy Boston also represented Great Britain while at Wigan between 1952 and 1956 against France (1 non-Test match).[3]

With BBC television coverage increasing in the late-1950s, armchair fans as well as terrace supporters were able to witness Billy Boston in action. He beat Johnny Ring's record of 368 tries and went on to score a record 478 for Wigan,[4] a record that will probably never be broken. Boston also twice equalled the then Wigan club record of seven tries in game, only surpassed since by Martin Offiah and Shaun Edwards.

Billy Boston played Centre in Wigan's 9-13 victory over Workington Town in the 1958 Challenge Cup final during the 1957–58 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 10 May 1958.[5]

Billy Boston played Right-Wing, i.e. number 2, and scored a try in Wigan's 16-13 victory over Oldham in the 1957 Lancashire Cup final during the 1957–58 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 29 October 1966.[6]

Towards the end of his career, Boston played for Blackpool Borough, making his final appearance in 1970. He scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second highest all-time try scorer in the history of the game after Brian Bevan.

Boston became one of less than twenty-five Welshmen to have scored more than 1,000-points in their rugby league career.[7]

After retirement[edit]

After finishing his playing career, he took over the running of the Griffin Hotel pub near Central Park until his retirement. In 1986, he was awarded an MBE for his services to the game of rugby league, and the Billy Boston Stand at Central Park was named in his honour. Similarly, the East Stand at the DW Stadium was officially renamed after Billy Boston in 2009.


  1. ^ "Birth details at". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Cummings, Thomas (24 February 2010). "Legends: Billy Boston". Love Rugby League. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Edgar, Harry (2007). Rugby League Journal Annual 2008 Page-110. Rugby League Journal Publishing. ISBN 0-9548355-3-0
  4. ^ "RECORDS" at
  5. ^ "1957–1958 Challenge Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "1966–1967 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Robert Gate (1988). "Gone North – Volume 2". R. E. Gate. ISBN 0-9511190-3-6

External links[edit]