Billy Boston MBE admits to being “stunned” on hearing he had been chosen as one of the five Rugby League legends for the Rugby League legends statue that will be unveiled at Wembley Stadium on Saturday before the 2015 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final kicks off.
Representatives from every part of the Rugby League family were canvassed for their views on who should be represented on the statue, which also features Eric Ashton MBE, Martin Offiah MBE, Alex Murphy OBE and Gus Risman.
“It’s one of the greatest things to happen to the sport, the statue,” said Boston, the former Wigan and Great Britain winger.
“There’s been so many great players to have played Rugby League, but it’s hard to put into words just how great it is to be singled out as one of the five greatest. It’s the most wonderful honour ever.
“There’s been plenty of great moments in the history of the game, but to have a statue is absolutely wonderful and I will be astounded when everyone gets to the see it for the first time.”
Stephen Winterburn from Yorkshire Fine Arts has spent the past three years moulding the sculpture, and invited the five subjects to see how the statue’s progress.
Boston, who made over 400 appearances for Wigan, has been amazed by Winterburn’s work and underlined the significance for Rugby League to have a statue on the concourse at Wembley Stadium.
“I think the statue looks great,” he said. “I’ve been a few times to see it and Stephen’s done a great job. It’s such a massive honour to have something like this and to be a part of it, too.
“I think it’s deserved that there will be a statue on the concourse at Wembley. People may think that Rugby League is a small sport, but it’s not, and to have a statue there shows how important Rugby League is to Wembley where it hosts a great occasion in the Challenge Cup final.”
Fans can come along to witness the unveiling of the Wembley Statue on the stadium concourse at noon on Saturday August 29 before the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final kicks off at 3.15pm.
Cardiff-born Billy Boston scored 571 tries in 565 games, a career total bettered only by fellow Rugby League Hall of Fame member Brian Bevan.
He still holds the all-time try-scorer record for Wigan with 478 between 1953 and 1968. He also made over 30 appearances for England, scoring 24 tries.
Over 79,000 tickets for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final between Hull Kingston Rovers and Leeds Rhinos at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 29 have already been sold but a limited number are still available to purchase from as little as £20.