John Mantle: Dual code rugby international dies aged 76

John Mantle (L) in Wales rugby union training in 1964
John Mantle (left) in Wales rugby union training in 1964 with fellow player David Weaver

Former rugby player John Mantle has died at the age of 76 after a long illness.

The Cardiff-born forward played rugby league for St Helens, Great Britain and Wales after making two Test appearances for the latter at rugby union.

Mantle played 435 matches for Saints, including 19 major finals.

"It's with great sadness that we hear of the passing of an all-time great Saint, John Mantle," said St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus.

"He was from that era of magnificent players who moulded St Helens into the world famous rugby league club that it is today.

"He moved from Welsh rugby union, laid down his family roots in St Helens, and became a great player in one of our greatest-ever sides."

Mantle was a member of the Saints side that won four trophies - Lancashire League, League Leaders Bowl, Challenge Cup and League Championship - in 1965-66, when he played 48 matches.

He was capped 13 times for Great Britain and 16 times by Wales.

Mantle was inducted into the St Helens players' association hall of fame, and spent time at Salford, Leigh, Barrow, Keighley, Oldham, Cardiff Blue Dragons and Blackpool, where his career ended in 1982.

In union, he played number eight for Newport RFC.

He leaves a widow, Lorraine, son Kelvin, daughter Janine and grandchildren Ryan and Rhys.

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