Wigan and St Helens legend Ashton dies at 73


Last updated at 19:47 20 March 2008

Eric Ashton, one of the greatest talents in the history of rugby league, died on Thursday after a long battle against cancer, aged 73.

An iconic figure at Wigan as a centre and St Helens as coach and administrator, he was the first of his sport to be honoured by the Queen, receiving the MBE in 1966 for his heroic performances when captain as Great Britain won the 1960 World Cup and the 1963 Ashes in Australia.

Former Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay said: 'He was a true legend of our game.'

Ashton was elected to the sport's Hall Of Fame in 2005 to mark a

14-year, 497-game playing career which produced 231 tries, 448 goals and 26 Great Britain Test caps, 15 as captain.

He was the only man to captain, coach and be chairman of Challenge Cup-winning sides.

Born in St Helens, he played for that club's arch rivals Wigan, forming an outstanding partnership with the great Welsh wing, Billy Boston.

Saints and Wigan will put aside their rivalry before Friday's derby to honour his memory.

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