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Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 13:46 UK

Rugby league star Topliss mourned

David Topliss
Topliss finished his playing career in Britain at Oldham

Former Great Britain international David Topliss has died suddenly after collapsing during a five-a-side football match on Monday.

Topliss, 58, was a member of England's 1972 World Cup-winning squad and captained both Wakefield and Hull in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

Topliss scored 270 career tries and is the fifth highest scoring half-back behind names such as Shaun Edwards.

He went on Ashes tours of Australia as a player and also coached Wakefield.

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His seven years in charge of Wakefield between 1987 and 1994 followed a 13-year playing career with the club.

He won the Lance Todd Trophy as Man of the Match in their last Cup final appearance in 1979.

Topliss was also in charge of the Great Britain Under-21 side in 1989.

Terry Crook, who played alongside Topliss more than 300 times for Wakefield, told BBC Radio Leeds: "I'm absolutely shocked and devastated.

"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.

"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."

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood paid tribute to Topliss' "skill, bravery and sportsmanship".

He said: "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.

"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."

When you look back to the try he scored in the 1982 Challenge Cup final replay that set us on our way to victory, it was one of many significant moments that David played in the club's history

Former Hull team-mate Lee Crooksn
Lee Crooks, who played alongside Topliss when Hull won the Challenge Cup in 1982, told BBC Look North: "When you look back to the try he scored in the [final] replay that set us on our way to victory, it was one of many significant moments that David played in the club's history."

Hull chief executive James Rule, speaking as tickets went on sale for the Challenge Cup semi-final against Wakefield, said: "We'll certainly make our own tribute at the Warrington game and something around the semi and final if we are lucky enough to get there."

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