A RUGBY league star, who played for York and went on to represent his country, has passed away aged 93.

Basil ‘Bas’ Watts was born in York in June 1926. He attended Poppleton School before joining the army in 1944 as a tank driver.

While in the army, Basil was a keen footballer.

He was released from the army in 1948, when he was asked if he would like to give Rugby League a go for the Leeman Road Working Mens Club team in York.

This was when Basil found his passion for the sport, and eventually he joined York Rugby League Club, now York City Knights, in 1949.

He has been described as “the best second row forward ever to pull on the York jersey,” by current club president, John Stabler.

He went on to say: “I first watched York RL in 1954 and Bas was one of my favourite players.

“He was a whole hearted player who always gave his all for the cause. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”

Basil went on to play 354 times for York in 12 years at the club, scoring 65 tries. He retired in 1961.

As well as playing for his hometown club, Basil featured in four games representing Great Britain, including the 1954 World Cup Final.

He also played once for England in 1953 against the Other Nationalities Rugby League team.

Basil was inducted into the York Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2013, when there were only seven members.

After his rugby league career ended, Basil became a publican in York for 20 years, before moving into maintenance work at the Imphal Barracks, where he retired.

He leaves behind a loving family, including wife, Gladys, and daughter, Margaret.

Basil’s funeral will be held at on Thursday, January 9 at York Crematorium at 2.20pm.