Scottish Rugby greats honoured in New Year honours

Two rugby Scots today became the latest all-time greats to be recognised in the New Year's Day honours List.

Former Scotland and two-time British & Irish Lions tourist, Ian McLauchlan [left], was awarded an OBE for services to rugby and charity and Scotland’s long-serving rugby team doctor, James Robson [right], has been commended for his long and continuing service to the game with an MBE.

The New Year honours lists celebrates the achievements and service of people across the UK in recognition of their achievements in public life or commitment to serving and helping Britain.

Along with the Birthday honours, they are the most significant announcements of civilian and military gallantry awards. Educated at Ayr Academy and Jordanhill College, where he studied Physical Education, Ian McLauchlan played his rugby with Jordanhill, Glasgow and Natal and was capped 43 times for Scotland, 19 as captain.

Considered one of the all-time great looseheads, McLauchlan’s prowess in both scrummaging and loose play was at the heart of the British & Irish Lions test series successes in New Zealand (1971) and South Africa (1974).

The man known around the globe as Mighty Mouse was one of only five men to play in all eight Lions Tests in the glory years of the early seventies.

He went on to forge a successful career in sports administration and was elected Scottish Rugby President in June 2010, serving in this role in 2010/11 and 2011/12, before being appointed as a non-Executive Director on the Scottish Rugby Board.

He is also Chairman of the British and Irish Lions Trust.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It came as a very pleasant surprise. I see it as an honour to myself, my family and Scottish rugby in general because that is what it’s all about.

“Without that background, there’s nothing there. I’ve always been in love with Scottish rugby.

“I think it’s a good thing that at the present moment Scottish rugby is on the rise and this is another little shot in the arm for everyone.”

Reflecting on his time as a British & Irish Lion, he added: “The Lions tours of 1971 and 74 remain unique as it was roughly the same group of players that were so successful, which was the source of a lot of our strength.

“The fact that we won all the provincial games in New Zealand helped us a lot. The big club sides thought they would beat us but didn’t manage it and that feeling carried us into the Test matches, which were some of the toughest you’ll see.

“1974 was probably the pinnacle of what you can achieve because we went through the whole of South Africa unbeaten with around 32 players.

“All that said, the game is totally different now, it’s much more entertaining than it was then, but when you play the game it’s always great fun and I’ve enjoyed all the roles I’ve played in the sport.”

Dr James Robson [pictured below with his family] has given unstinting service to the sport, from the club game in Dundee to duty at more than 200 Test matches for Scotland and British & Irish Lions.

Originally a physiotherapist, Dr Robson, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, Head of Medical Services and National Team Doctor, is one of the longest-serving and most experienced medics in the game, with six Rugby World Cups and six British & Irish Lions tours to his name.

A well respected and popular figure in the game globally, Robson is at the forefront of Scottish Rugby’s stated aim that the health and welfare of all players is paramount.

In addition to his care for elite players, his duties as Chief Medical Officer extend to looking after club players and supporting Scottish Rugby staff, with last summer (2016) marking his 25th anniversary in the game.

He said: “This is just amazing and has truly blown me and my family away. “We’re stunned and very proud of this award and how it reflects on all the medics who work in sport, particularly in Scotland, as it recognises the value we put into caring for athletes, and in my case rugby players.

“The time that now goes into the care of professional athletes means you and the players can be away from home and families for weeks at a time in order to achieve the highest standard of performance, so this is every bit an award for them as it is for me.”

Doctor Robson’s unstinting commitment to the sport and welfare was recently recognised by Scottish Rugby when he was inducted to the governing body’s Hall of Fame (2017), as a Fellow of the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine (RCSI & RCPI) in Dublin (2017), as Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (2012) and as a Fellow ad hominem of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (2010) – the latter extremely rare to be presented to a non-surgeon.

The tradition of New Year’s Honours dates back to at least 1890 and salutes 'high-achieving' people, with the awards presented by or in the name of the Queen.