OVER the years departing Saints legends have left many a big pair of boots to fill, but post-war has any player had a tougher task than Welsh three-quarter Frank Wilson?

No doubt the eventual successor to James Roby will probably have a case for that title.

But when Wilson headed north from Cardiff rugby union club in August 1968 he was donning the number 2 jersey and retracing the touchline footsteps of none other than Tom van Vollenhoven.

He had the physical attributes and skillset, possessing speed and a body swerve to beat his man, the full back and the cover.

And the stats from the Welshman, then aged 24, showed that he was not overawed by the task – with a tremendous scoring rate in his first three seasons on the wing. He topped the club try scoring charts in his first season with 25 including a brace in the Lancashire Cup Final against Oldham, and four in win over Swinton.

St Helens Star:

Although he finished the 69-70 season as top try scorer with 36, including a hat-trick in the semi-final, he was dropped for the Championship Final.

Injury would rob him of a place in the 1971 final too.

But he added to his medal collection the following season with triumphs in the BBC TV Floodlit Trophy over Rochdale Hornets – the prelude to the biggest one of his eight years at Saints.

Wilson produced a fine performance at Wembley against Leeds in the 1972 Challenge Cup Final as a Saints side hit by injury lifted the crown after a 16-13 triumph.

St Helens Star:

With Les Jones nailing down the right wing, and Roy Mathias heading north from Llanelli ‘Willow’ moved centres the following season, a position he appeared to relish.

And he was a key part of that 1974-75 team which lost just three Division 1 matches all season and finished nine points clear of runner-up Wigan to lift the title, then in its second year of first past the post.

Wilson’s final season in the red vee saw another BBC2 Floodlit Trophy triumph, scoring in the final against Dewsbury. But he missed out on Wembley that year with Eddie Cunningham and Derek Noonan taking the centre spots and two-try match winner Peter Glynn taking his place on the bench against Widnes.

He missed out on the Premiership Trophy Final win over Salford a fortnight later.

He did, however, go on the end of season tour and was on the bench for the World Club Challenge game against Eastern Suburbs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

During his time at Saints he was a regular in the Wales national team, winning 14 caps including appearances in the 1975 World Championships held in both hemispheres.

He finished with a tally of 175 touchdown in the red vee, ninth in the club’s all-time scoring chart.

His last game for Saints was in Auckland – and he departed for Workington Town for the following year, before having spells at Warrington, Salford and Cardiff Blue Dragons.