• Sullivan set the record for most Great Britain caps with 46
  • The winger was a World Cup winner in 1954 at the age of just 20 
  • Sullivan is one of only 25 members of the Rugby League Hall of Fame 

Pa Reporter

Record-breaking winger Mick Sullivan has died after a long illness at the age of 82, his family has announced.

One of only 25 members of the Rugby League Hall of Fame, Sullivan was last week admitted to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, where he died on Tuesday afternoon.

A World Cup winner in 1954 at the age of just 20, Sullivan set the record for most Great Britain caps with 46, which was later equalled by Garry Schofield.

Great Britain winger Mick Sullivan training on the beach in Quuensland for the 1962 series against Australia

Great Britain winger Mick Sullivan training on the beach in Quuensland for the 1962 series against Australia

He scored 41 tries for Great Britain and played in a record 36 consecutive Tests after making his debut at centre in the World Cup defeat of Australia at Lyon in 1954.

He began his professional career at Huddersfield and moved to Wigan for a then record £9,500 fee in 1957 before joining St Helens for £11,000, another record, four years later.

He also had spells with York and as player-coach with his home-town club Dewsbury before going on to play in Australia, where he was captain and coach of Junee in the Group 9 competition in southern New South Wales for three years from 1966-68.

In total he scored 342 tries, which included a chart-topping 50 in the 1957-58 season and 120 in a representative career of 102 games for Yorkshire, England and Great Britain.

Sullivan was also a World Cup winner in 1960 and scored a hat-trick of tries in the 1958 deciding Ashes Test in Sydney.

That was one of four Ashes-winning campaigns for the player, who also featured in Great Britain’s successes in 1956, 59 and 62.

Sullivan’s co-record holder Schofield said on his Twitter account: ‘Very sad news. Rest in peace, legend.’

Sullivan won the Challenge Cup with Wigan in 1958 and 1959, scoring in both finals, and was also part of the Championship winning team of 1960.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: ‘I remember Mick Sullivan signing for Wigan. I was at school in St Helens when I heard the news he had signed and I was delighted.

‘He played in a famous backline that included Billy Boston and Eric Ashton. I remember watching him at Wembley in 1958, when he scored against Workington – Bill played centre that day.

‘He was a terrific player – tough, uncompromising. I don’t know why Wigan ever let him go. It’s a great shame to hear he’s passed away.’

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said: ‘Mick Sullivan was one of the greatest Rugby League players to ever play the game.

‘He was a legend of the game and was rightly inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2013. The RFL would like to offer their sincere condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.’ 

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