Boston honoured by Welsh lifetime achievement award

BBC Wales have honoured former Wigan and Great Britain winger Bily Boston MBE with an Elite Lifetime Achievement award.

The rugby league legend, now 82 years old, received the award from former Widnes and Warrington great Jonathan Davies, who outlined Boston’s talents for the audience at the Hoddinott Hall, inside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on Monday evening.

“The biggest compliment I can give him is to say that I’m glad I didn’t play against him,” said Davies.

“He’s a bit like Shane Williams and George North all rolled into one player. He could ran round, over and through his opponents.

“He was adored in Wigan when he played and he’s still adored now. When we went up north and followed in the steps of Billy, Dai Watkins and Lewis Jones, Billy was great to us.

“We’ve a fantastic tradition of Welsh players going north which still continues today.”

When it was revealed that he was probably ignored by his rugby union club side Cardiff, and the Welsh national team, because of his African heritage, there were some surprised gasps in the audience.

Boston also revealed that he was paid £5 per game by Neath RUFC (all under the table) before he signed for Wigan for a signing on fee of £3,000 in 1953.

“I felt very nervous going up for the award but I was very grateful to receive it,” said Boston, who attended the ceremony with his wife Joan.

I’d like to thank everyone for the reception that they gave me. It was a tremendous honour to have this presentation in Cardiff, as it was in Wigan when they unveiled the statue.

“There are some great players around in sport but it’s me who’s been recognised. I’m very grateful.”

Billy Boston scored over 500 tries in 500 games for club and country in his rugby league career.

He played for Wigan from 1953 until 1968, winning 31 caps for Great Britain, and was GB’s first non-white tourist.

Sadly, he played for Wales only once in rugby league, against France B in 1955, as Wales did not play regular games during his career.

But he was awarded a Welsh cap by the Wales Rugby League earlier this year. Also this year, a bronze statue of the winger was erected in Wigan.

He was also immortalised in bronze alongside fellow Welshman Gus Risman in a statue at Wembley.

 

Davies added:

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