​Tom Smith to be inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

​Tom Smith to be inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

Tom Smith, hailed as the “greatest Scotland player of the professional era” is today announced as the latest inductee into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame.

The 50-year-old loosehead-prop, who won 61 caps for Scotland, was an instrumental figure in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations Championship success, and played in six successive British & Irish Lions Test matches in 1997-2001, will be welcomed to BT Murrayfield tomorrow for the induction ceremony with his family, wife Zoe, sons Angus and Teddy and daughter Amelie.

It is fitting the induction will take place with South Africa the visitors to BT Murrayfield tomorrow.

In 1997, having made his Scotland debut only four months previously, Smith, then largely unheralded outside his native land, played a pivotal role both in scrummage and in loose play in a Lions pack that more than held their own against the Springbok juggernaut and went on to post a historic series victory.

Smith, who played his club rugby for Dundee HSFP, Watsonians, Caledonian Reds, Glasgow Caledonians, Brive and Northampton Saints, also captained Scotland during an eight-year international career.

Sir Ian McGeechan, head coach on that 1997 Lions tour and a member of Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame Panel, said: “Tom is hugely deserving of this accolade. He was every inch the modern prop forward with sublime running and handling skills allied to the traditional strengths that are a pre-requisite for a front-row forward to flourish in the setpiece.

“For me he has been the greatest Scotland player of the professional era to date.”

Smith is a humble man, who showed that you could manage epilepsy and still play international sport at the very highest level.

He coached at Edinburgh Rugby and in France before two years ago he had to focus on his own health, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Typically, he has fought the condition as tenaciously as any contest on the rugby field, with support from all corners of the rugby world and from Scottish Rugby’s own charity, the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation.

He has also , once again, sought to put the plight of others before himself, by becoming an ambassador for the bowel cancer charity, 40tude.

Tom Smith said: “I feel surprised, humbled and honoured to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.Coming to Edinburgh to watch a new generation create their own legacy makes it more special.”

Scottish Rugby Board Chairman and Hall of Fame Panel chair, John Jeffrey, said: “Tom’s induction into the Hall of Fame is for resounding rugby reasons.

“But it’s also in keeping with our sports values that we salute the human being as well as the champion rugby player and send our very best wishes to Tom and his family.”

Top image: Vicky Galbraith’s family receiving her memento from Hall of Fame panel members Chris Paterson (left) and John Jeffrey (right) doing the honours. Bottom image: Fiona Chadwick (sister) and Tom and James Holdsworth (brothers) receiving Keri Holdsworth’s memento from Chris Paterson and John Jeffrey.

Scottish Rugby announced in September that a further five inductions to its Hall of Fame would take place during the Autumn Nations Series.

Last week, before the match against Australia, the families of the late former Scotland Women caps Vicky Galbraith and Keri Holdsworth, accepted their bespoke sculpted caps during their induction ceremony.

Tomorrow, Ally Ratcliffe will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.A former Scotland Women internationalist she became one of the first female head coaches of a men’s club first XV when she fulfilled that role at Langholm.She also played a key part in the school of rugby at Hawick High School from which Scotland caps Lisa Thomson and Darcy Graham have graduated.

On Sunday, Scotland Women’s 1998 Grand Slam captain Kim Littlejohn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Scotland Women play their Test match against their Japanese counterparts at the Dam Health Stadium.

And next week, Scottish Rugby Past President Dee Bradbury will be inducted having been the first female President of a Tier One Union in the world game.

You can read the full list of Hall of Fame members prior to Tom Smith’s induction HERE.

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