SAINTS' popular former full back and captain Geoff Pimblett has today died aged 73.

Pimblett was signed from St Helens rugby union club, where he had won county honours in the 15-man code, in January, 1971.

He made his debut a month later and flitted between the back positions of stand off and centre before finally taking the number one shirt he would make his own.

He soon showed that his speed, nimble feet and awareness in support play were key assets and he was full back in the 16-12 Championship Final over Wigan at Station Road in May 1971.

A year later he added to his medal haul by featuring in the Challenge Cup win over Leeds at Wembley, although the double evaded them a week later.

At this stage Pimblett’s goalkicking was kept in reserve, given skipper and marksman Kel Coslett had the job.

But from 1973 onwards we began to see that added string to his bow and the points began to pile up.

The honours came thick and fast for the Grange Park schoolteacher, and he collected individual honours as well as team awards.

He was the first player to do the Lance Todd Trophy and the Harry Sunderland Trophy double after man of the match displays in the 1976 Challenge Cup Final win over Widnes and the 1977 Premiership Final triumph over Warrington.

Pimblett became club captain at the beginning of the 1977-78 season – a year which ended with a narrow Wembley defeat by Leeds.

It was not quite the end, later that month on a baking hot day in May Pimblett was called into the England team for what would be his only international cap.

And he made the most of it scoring a try and kicking nine goals in the 60-12 rout of Wales at Knowsley Road.

Alas, the following season ended prematurely for Pimblett and after a run of poor results he was left out of the team to play Wakefield in the Challenge Cup semi final and replaced by Peter Glynn. Saints were pipped by a late runaway try.

Pimblett announced his retirement straight away – he departed with a phenomenal career haul of 1,388 points made up of 48 tries, 608 goals and 28 drop goals.

But his retirement did not stop his link with the club. Not only did he stay involved with the St Helens Past Players Association, but he could often be seen taking parties of school children around Knowsley Road.

Everyone who had the privilege to meet him was left knowing that they had been speaking to warm, witty and knowledgeable gentleman.

Former Saints half Peter Harvey‏ tweeted: "Geoff Pimblett was an absolute pillar of the Saints Players Association and a brilliant secretary for about 40 years, as well as a H O fame member.

"He will be sadly missed by his family and friends but also well remembered by all ex pupils.

"For 40 Years he has been the go to person for Saints Players. RIP Geoff a gentleman & Star Player 2."

Meanwhile Paul Sculthorpe, who followed in Pimblett's footsteps in skippering the side, tweeted: "So sad to hear of the passing of a true Saints legend Geoff Pimblett.

"A genuine lovely man who always had time for everyone, especially the kids. Before my time in rugby..but believe one of the best there’s been #RIPGeoff."