Jim Greenwood inducted into IRB Hall of Fame

Former Scotland and British Lions back-row forward and pioneer of modern rugby coaching, Jim Greenwood, has been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame posthumously.

Known as Mr Rugby in New Zealand, Greenwood arguably made a bigger impression as a coach than he had in a glittering playing career, which saw him win 20 caps, captain his country and play in four Tests for the 1955 British Lions on their tour in South Africa.

Born in Fife, James Thomas Greenwood was educated at Dunfermline High School and Edinburgh University and went on to play his club rugby for Dunfermline, Perthshire Accies and a brief spell with Harlequins.

As an openside flanker of tremendous pace, Greenwood won his first cap against France at Murrayfield in 1952, one of eight new caps in the Scotland team that day.

He was dropped after France won at Murrayfield for the first time and it was three years before he returned to international duty – once again against the French – this time as Scotland captain.

The following match Scotland defeated Wales 14-8 to end a run of 17 successive defeats with Greenwood’s rugby brain stamped large on proceedings.

His finest hour as a player probably came on the 1955 Lions tour to South Africa.

He scored tries in the first and fourth Tests and newspaper reports of the period hailed his courage. He was:

... without equal among his contemporaries for a combination of skill, perception and deadly physical pace."

Greenwood would have made a second Lions tour to New Zealand in 1959 had he not suffered a shoulder injury against Ireland – the last of his 20 caps in 1959.

One of the game’s greatest thinkers Greenwood embarked on a coaching career which saw him write two of the seminal works on the game – Total Rugby and Think Rugby.

Greenwood, whether at Loughborough Colleges or through those publications, was an inspiration to a generation of rugby coaches and players.

On retirement from Loughborough, Greenwood and his wife Margot retired to the village of Crossmichael near Castle Douglas in Dumfriesshire though he still remained in demand as a rugby consultant worldwide.

Jim Greenwood passed away in September 2010.

Other inductees...

Greenwood was among fifteen legends of men’s and women’s rugby inducted at a special ceremony in London on Monday, midway through the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition.

This latest inductions include the first women to enter the Hall of Fame as well as some greats of the men’s game.

The new inductions also include: Nathalie Amiel (France), Gill Burns (England), Patty Jervey (USA), Carol Isherwood (England), Anna Richards (New Zealand), Farah Palmer (New Zealand), Keith Rowlands (Wales), JPR Williams (Wales), Michael Lynagh (Australia), Jo Maso (France), Keith Wood (Ireland), Ieuan Evans (Wales), Jason Leonard (England) and Bill Beaumont (England).

Four of the six females inducted are Women’s Rugby World Cup winners from Jervey at the inaugural tournament in 1991 to Richards winning a fourth title in a row with the Black Ferns in 2010, while Amiel coached France to third place at the 2014 edition on home soil in August.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, who joined IRB Hall of Fame secretary Chris Thau in presenting the caps and pins to the new inductees, said:

The IRB Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.”

- - IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset