Scotland rugby supporters are once again to have the opportunity to bestow one of the game’s top honours on an all-time great.
This autumn, the second induction will take place into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame, and, like the first induction, an interactive public vote will determine one of the places.
The Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2010 and 12 of the most iconic figures in the development of the game in Scotland were welcomed in that first induction.
They were chosen by a panel chaired by former Scotland and British Lions flanker John Jeffrey, who was joined by fellow Scotland and Lions internationalists, Sir Ian McGeechan, Chris Rea and John Beattie and the former Scotland hooker and distinguished rugby journalist, Norman Mair.
The dynamic dozen selected then were David Bedell-Sivright, Phil Macpherson, Ken Scotland, Sandy Carmichael, Andy Irvine, Finlay Calder, Gavin Hastings, Ian McGeechan, Ned Haig, Bill McLaren, Jim Telfer and Gordon Brown.
Gavin Hastings was chosen through a poll on the Scottish Rugby website and as the panel has reconvened to deliberate the contenders for membership of the Hall of Fame 2013 style, once again there will be involvement from supporters.
Panel chairman John Jeffrey, joined this time by Beattie, McGeechan, Rea and the doyen of rugby radio commentators, BBC Radio Scotland’s Bill Johnstone, was keen to ensure supporters’ voices were heard anew.
Jeffrey said: “The panel has a tough task to select those who have made an enduring contribution to our game over the rich history of rugby in Scotland, going back to the 19th century.
“This time we wanted to open the public vote across the generations rather than focusing on a specific era and, frankly, any of the five contenders we’ve chosen for fans to consider would be a worthy recipient of Hall of Fame status.
“We decided to open up the public vote to all eras due to the outstanding contributions of previous generations which often go unrecognised.”
The 2013 Hall of Fame public vote will be run in conjunction with RBS, Scottish Rugby’s principal partner and proud sponsor of the Scotland team.
Brett Williams, RBS sponsorship manager, said: "The Hall of Fame is an excellent means of recognising the greats of our game and inspiring the next generation to set their sights on similar success. Scotland has a proud history of producing players who have excelled at the highest level, and the nominees this year underline the longevity and strength of that tradition.
"We're delighted to be able to involve supporters in the vote. As ever there's sure to be keen debate about these five extremely worthy candidates, reflecting the passion and knowledge that Scottish fans always bring to the table."
Bill Maclagan. He made his international debut against England in 1878 and represented Scotland on 26 occasions, covering 13 seasons and three decades. He was Scotland’s cap-record holder for 60 years. Bill was made Scotland captain for the 1884 Home Nations Championship and was part of the Championship winning side in 1887. In 1888 he took part in the first British tour to Australia and New Zealand, and in 1891 he captained the side’s first tour to South Africa, winning all 20 games played – he featured in 19 – including the three Tests. He was also capped twice for Scotland at cricket.
John Bannerman. Lock forward John MacDonald Bannerman won 37 caps – all consecutively – out of Glasgow High School FP and Oxford University. He made his debut against France in 1921 and captained Scotland to a Calcutta Cup victory on his final cap in 1929. An exceptional lineout forward, solid scrummager and master dribbler, he was a highly-regarded exponent of footrushes. Following his retirement from rugby, he continued his farming business and became involved in politics, entering parliament in 1967.
Douglas Elliot. Borders farmer William Irving Douglas Elliot, a wing-forward from Edinburgh Accies, won 29 caps for Scotland. He made his debut against France in 1947 and was the outstanding back-row forward of his generation. With great pace and stamina, he was a destructive tackler who struck fear into the hearts of opposing half-backs. His ceaseless harrying contributed to Wales’ downfall at Murrayfield in 1951. Selected for the 1950 Lions tour, he could not afford to be away from his farm for six months and offered to pay for his own flight to cut travel time by sea. His offer, sadly, was declined.
John Rutherford. Selkirk stand-off John Young Rutherford won 42 caps for Scotland, making his debut against Wales in 1979. With an innate ability to find the gap, a superb runner in the loose and possessor of fine handling skills, he was a vital figure in the 1984 Grand Slam season. He partnered scrum-half Roy Laidlaw in 35 tests, at the time a record for any such international pairing. He toured with the British Lions in 1983, scoring a try in the third Test. His final game for Scotland was their first match in the 1987 Rugby World Cup against France.
Gregor Townsend. Gregor Peter John Townsend, a stand-off or centre, won 82 caps for Scotland, making his first appearance against England in 1993. His cap total at the time of his final appearance, against Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, was a Scottish record. In season 1998-99 he became only the second Scot to run in a try in each Five Nations Championship match in a season, matching Johnnie Wallace’s record in the 1925 Grand Slam. Gregor was awarded the MBE in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to rugby. He started 50 internationals at stand-off and 26 at centre as well as winning six replacement caps. He was outstanding in the 1997 British Lions series victory over South Africa.
The star-studded Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame evening will take place on Thursday 7 November at Murrayfield Stadium and will be hosted by celebrated Scottish sports broadcaster Dougie Donnelly. Details of an after-dinner speaker will be confirmed shortly.
The evening includes a champagne reception; three-course dinner with wine; a souvenir programme; the induction ceremony; presentation of uniquely sculpted awards; and an auction, proceeds of which will go to the Bill McLaren Foundation.
The cost for the evening is £157.50 plus VAT and you can buy tickets directly through Scottish Rugby’s conference and banqueting division, The Murrayfield Experience either on the phone – 0131 346 5250 or online [email protected].
Those who purchase the first 12 tables (of 10) for the evening also have the opportunity to be joined by either a current or past Scotland rugby internationalist at their table.