New Zealand Rugby League legend passes away

New Zealand rugby league legend Ces Mountford has died aged 90.

Mountford was born in 1919 in the West Coast town of Blackball and moved to England in 1946 to play for Wigan and Warrington.

The nuggety five eighth scored 17 tries in his first season with Wigan and was the first Kiwi to win the Lance Todd trophy in Challenge Cup final of 1951.

He then coached the Kiwis in a successful period from 1979 to 1982.

Mountford was awarded an MBE in 1987.

NZRL general manager Peter Cordtz says it is a sad day for New Zealand league.

Cordtz said Mountford was a fantastic player and set the benchmark for many coaches that followed.

Mountford is regarded as possibly the best player to never play for the Kiwis, which was due to his professional commitments in England.