Book launch for all-time-great Scotland prop

Rugby from a different era is celebrated in an affectionate biography of the 40-times-capped Scotland prop Dave Rollo (pictured left), which was launched at the Howe of Fife clubrooms this week.

The book, written by Andrew Arbuckle, farming correspondent of The Scotsman, chronicles the natural strength of a son of the soil, who transitioned from his mixed arable farm outside Cupar in Fife to the rugby XVs of Howe of Fife, Scotland and British Lions to name but a few.

David Miller Durie Rollo remains very much a local hero. The book takes us through his Scotland career from 1959-1968; the “conspiracy theories” which surrounded the fact that he remained level with the late Hughie McLeod, his fellow Lions prop, on the 40 cap mark; and his family, including his daughter Pat, who went on to gain international recognition in athletics.

The most engaging tale concerns the opening match of the 1964 Five Nations Championship.  Arbuckle writes: “Dave had not originally been chosen to play as his place in the team had been taken by Brian Neill, the new Scottish captain.

“He was, however, picked as a reserve and having observed the team all fit and well in the morning of the match, he had a hearty lunch.

“Not content with the lunch, he also had a pint of beer to help it down. After the meal, the chairman of selectors, Charlie Drummond, bought him a pint as a consolation for not playing.

“This was followed by Dave repaying the hospitality with another pint. A third was just being consumed when the SRU secretary dashed onto the scene saying Dave was needed to play as Cameron Boyle, the Scottish loose-head prop, had a temperature and was not fit to play.

“A three course lunch and a two-and-a-half-pint preparation did not seem to faze Dave as he played his part in a 10-0 victory as the rain poured down in one of the wettest games seen at Murrayfield.”

David Rollo: Local Hero by Andrew Arbuckle is available at £10 from the Scottish Rugby store at BT Murrayfield


Written by
Graham Law