Leeds Rhinos mourn club legend Ray Batten - outstanding loose-forward who also coached Wakefield Trinity and was director at York

Leeds Rhinos will pay their respects to club legend Ray Batten who died on Wednesday, his 75th birthday.

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 8:48 pm
The Loiners return to Leeds with the Challenge Cup in 1968.
The Loiners return to Leeds with the Challenge Cup in 1968.

The Rhinos team will wear black armbands during Thursday's Betfred Super League game against Hull KR at Warrington in memory of one of the most talented loose-forwards to have played for the club.

York-born Batten scored 80 tries in 434 appearances - all but 14 in the starting side - from November, 1963 to April, 1976.

After hanging up his boots, he had two spells as Wakefield Trinity coach in the 1980s and was later a director at York.

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Ray Batten.

Batten came from a famous rugby league family, his grandfather Billy playing for Hull, Wakefield Trinity and Great Britain either side of the First World War and uncle Eric also earning Test honours and a Challenge Cup winner’s medal for Bradford Northern against Leeds in 1947.

Having played junior rugby for Tang Hall and Heworth, he was recommended to Leeds by ex-York player Billy Riley and signed for them as a scrum-half in February, 1963. He made a try-scoring debut in the number 13 role against Hull at Headingley nine months later.

Batten became Leeds’ first-choice loose-forward in 1966-67 - succeeding the injured Harry Poole - and played in all but three of the 15 finals the Loiners reached between that season and 1975.

He featured in the famous 1968 Watersplash Challenge Cup final win over Wakefield in 1968 and was a runner-up at Wembley four years later, against St Helens.

A Championship winner in 1969 and 1972 - as well as runner-up in 1970 - he also won the Yorkshire Cup five times (in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1975) BBC Floodlit Trophy in 1970 and Premiership in 1975.

Capped three times each by England and Great Britain, his finest hour on the international stage came in 1973 when he starred in the Lions’ 21-12 win over Australia at Wembley.

He would have earned more caps, but for competition from an outstanding generation of loose-forwards including Malcolm Reilly and Doug Laughton.

Batten remained an active member of Leeds’ players’ association.

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