Rugby league rocked by Topliss death

Rugby league is mourning the untimely death of former Great Britain star David Topliss, after he suddenly died at the age of 58 yesterday.nnTopliss, a member of the England side who lifted the World Cup trophy in 1972, collapsed during a five-a-side football match yesterday.nnThe former Wakefield and Hull FC stand-off, 58, grabbed a marvellous 270 tries in his decorated career, and is fifth in the all-time list of try-scoring half-backs.nnHe skippered Wakefield and Hull FC in Wembley Challenge Cup finals, earning the prestigious Lance Todd Man of the Match trophy in Wakefield’s last Cup triumph against Widnes in 1979.nnFollowing a wonderful 13-year playing career, he hung up his boots in 1987, before coaching Wakefield until 1994. During that time, he also coached the Great Britain Under-21 side in 1989.nnTopliss’s death has come as a huge shock for the game as a whole, not least the players who knew him best. Terry Crook lined up with Topliss more than 300 times for Wakefield, and was just one of his many admirers.nn”I’m absolutely shocked and devastated,” Crook told BBC Radio Leeds. “David was an absolute gentleman and he was very, very fit. He was lean and not overweight, and to hear news of somebody who meant so much to me as a player, and all the players who played with David, I’m in shock.”nn”Many is the day if down at Trinity we were struggling with a few minutes to go, it would be ‘Come on Toppo, bit of the magic’ and he’d turn it on and he’d win you the game. He was a tremendous player and a very likeable and knowledgeable person,” he added.nnRFL chief executive Nigel Wood praised Topliss’s great contribution to the game, mentioning his “skill, bravery and sportsmanship.”nn”As a player, David reached the very highest levels of the domestic and international game. He was admired by many in both northern and southern hemisphere rugby league,” Wood said.nn”David was also very committed to making a continuing contribution to the game and was a regular at many matches. He was also a massive enthusiast for playing Touch Rugby League, which again illustrated his passion for the sport,” he added.

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