Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death of former Scotland centre Eddie McKeating. He passed away at the weekend, aged 84.
Born in Edinburgh in September 1936, McKeating, who won six caps for Scotland between 1957 and 1961, was a product of Heriot’s and both he and his good friend, full-back Ken Scotland, made their international debut on the same day.
At George Heriot’s school, McKeating was captain of rugby, cricket and athletics and was “games champion”. He went on to win the British Junior 100 yards title and represented both Edinburgh and Scottish Schools.
He took part in the second and final Scotland trials in the 1955-56 season and while serving in the RAF he played for Kent and London Scottish until returning north when he was stationed near Perth.
His first cap was against France at the Stade Colombes in January 1957 where Scotland overcame appalling conditions, a gale and “wild bursts of rain”, to record a 6-0 victory, their first in Paris since 1947.
McKeating then lined up at centre for Scotland’s next outing – a 9-6 home success against Wales – crowned by a towering 35-yard drop-goal, 10 yards from the right touchline by scrum-half Arthur Dorward.
The correspondent in the Glasgow Herald, bemoaned that McKeating had been “given no opportunity to get the feel of the ball” in either match in the 1957 Championship.
McKeating’s skills were underlined when Heriot’s won the Melrose Sevens in both 1957 and 1958 but it was four years before he returned to Scotland cap duty, enlisted shortly before kick-off when South Africa won 12-5 at Murrayfield in January 1961.
McKeating was hailed for a “successful re-emergence in the international scene” and praised for his role in the only international try the Springboks conceded on that tour, scored by the peerless Scotland winger, Arthur Smith.
Earlier in that 1960-61 season, McKeating was a pivotal figure in the Edinburgh district team and also represented the Combined Edinburgh and Glasgow teams against South Africa and Paris.
When Wales came calling to Edinburgh one month later, McKeating was in the centre from the outset and, once again, he played a crucial role in the only score of the game, a brilliant try by Arthur Smith.
Next up were Ireland beaten 16-8 at Murrayfield a fortnight later, in a “great, exciting match of wonderful variety” in which Ken Scotland drew the plaudits from the media who described him as “certainly the greatest full-back, if not, indeed, the greatest rugby footballer playing today.”
Scotland thus travelled to Twickenham searching for their first elusive Triple Crown since 1938 but they lost 0-6 to England, McKeating’s final cap.
Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Eddie McKeating’s family and many friends.