Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death on Sunday 9 August of Past President and former Scotland centre/stand-off and captain Iain Laughland. He was 84.
Iain Hugh Page Laughland, known to all and sundry as “Logie”, won 31 caps for Scotland between 1959 and 1967.
A supremely gifted footballer, innovative and prolific winner in the sevens game, Laughland’s life reads like something out of a Boys Own comic story.
To those who only knew him as an administrator, it’s hard to recall him without smiling. He loved to laugh and had a sense of mischief about him.
Born in Bombay, India in 1935 – his father was involved in a tea plantation – Laughland swapped life on the sub-continent to return to the UK and continue his schooling at Merchiston Castle in Edinburgh.
Leadership, it seemed, fell naturally to Laughland. In 1953, he captained Scottish Schools at cricket and while he was attached to the Seaforth Highlanders, he played football for Nairn County in the Highland League.
During his national service, Laughland was stationed in Aden but sport was never far from his mind, playing cricket for the Army in Egypt.
He made an early impact as a stand-off, both in club rugby at London Scottish and in the English County Championship with East Midlands and won his first cap for Scotland in the centre in a 0-9 loss to France at Colombes in January 1959.
His first five caps were won at centre and he did not savour international victory at Murrayfield until his seventh cap, by which point he was operating at stand-off in partnership with Eck Hastie.
He was back in the centre, when he scored his first try for Scotland in a 10-0 home victory against France in January 1964 and a month later he dotted down again, capitalising on a fumble by Welsh full-back Grahame Hodgson, to react sharply and get first touch on the ball in goal.
Between 1964 and 1966, he was part of the Scotland team who retained the Calcutta Cup for three years, a 15-6 margin at Murrayfield in 1964, a 3-all draw at Twickenham in 1965 and then, as captain, a 6-3 success against England back on home soil.
Earlier in the 1966 championship Laughland had also skippered Scotland to an 11-3 win against Ireland in Dublin.
His final appearance for Scotland was at Twickenham in 1967: 31 caps, 23 at centre, eight at stand-off and a win ratio of 48%. He also helped Scotland to a draw against New Zealand in 1964 and an 8-5 win against South Africa in 1965.
Back on club duty, Laughland was pivotal in London Scottish lifting five Middlesex Sevens titles in six attempts between 1960 and 1965. London Scottish also won Melrose 7s in both 1962 and 1965.
Off the field, his business career saw him lead Benn Brothers Publications, an international magazine publisher, while reflecting his love of sport, he was a long-standing member of Rye Golf Club in Sussex, where he played to a 3 handicap.
Inevitably, he gave back so much to rugby, serving on the Anglo Scots committee for many years. He was first elected to Scottish Rugby’s General Committee in 1986-87 and brought his sharp rugby brain and good humour to the fore. He served as President in the 2000-01 season.
Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Laughland’s wife Ann, their children Andrew and Rosie and their grandchildren and to his many friends around the world.