Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Bill Young, believed to be our hitherto oldest surviving internationalist, who passed away last Wednesday aged 96.
A flanker who won 10 caps for Scotland between 1937 and 1948, Young was the last link to the 1938 Triple Crown winning match against England at Twickenham.
William Brewitt Young was born in Ardrossan, Ayrshire on May 7, 1916 and studied medicine at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge. He went on to play club rugby for Cambridge University (including in Varsity matches), Kings College Hospital, London Scottish, Harlequins and the Barbarians.
Having won nine Scotland caps before the Second World War (including the 1938 Triple Crown decider against England) Dr Young took off on a new venture.
Contemporary accounts suggest that he was inspired by the example of fellow Scottish rugby internationalist, Eric Liddell, whom he met, and decided to become a missionary.
He spent nine years working for the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya, though the rugby bug retained its affectionate hold. Even while working as a missionary he played for the East Africa side.
Now his story takes a dramatic turn. In 1948 he reportedly returned to the UK on leave and was selected once more for Scotland, nine years after his previous appearance. Not only did he play in the 6-3 win against England at Murrayfield in 1948, he also scored the winning try described without much embellishment in John Davidson’s book “A Compendium of Scotland’s matches: “The English pack began to tire and after some slack play at a lineout Young was able to grab a loose ball and charge over.”
From 1948 until 1980 Dr Young worked as a GP and then he retired to Sevenoaks in Kent, where his funeral will take place later this week.
Scottish Rugby extends our sincere condolences to Dr Young’s family and friends.