Hall of Fame
Scottish Rugby established the official Hall of Fame to celebrate some of the standout contributions of Scots involved the game over the years.
From 2010 until present, we’ve been regularly inducting rugby legends into the Hall of Fame. More players will be added in 2020 when the panel next meet and we’ll be doing a public vote so that you can get your voice heard on who you think stands out on the field.
The Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame panel which chooses the players who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame is made up of former players, coaches, referees and rugby journalists. Members of the panel include Ian McGeechan, Chris Paterson, John Jeffrey, Chris Rea, Bill Johnstone.
Debuting against Wales in 1900, David Revell Bedell-Sivright went on to win 22 Scotland caps. A pioneer of the wing forward role, he was regarded as the hardest man to play for Scotland and is the only Scot ever to play in three Triple Crown winning sides (1901, 1903 and 1907).
He was the only player to tour with both the 1903 and 1904 British Isles sides (captaining the 1904 Australasia tour, aged 23) and also captained Scotland. After he retired from international rugby he became the 1909 Scottish heavyweight amateur boxing champion! A surgeon, by profession, he died on active service at Gallipoli.
George Philip Stewart Macpherson, a centre/stand-off from Oxford University and Edinburgh Academicals, won 26 caps for Scotland. Making his international debut against France in 1922, he played in Scotland’s matches that season and went on to score his first try for his country against Wales in 1924. In 1925, he captained Scotland to their first Grand Slam.
Rated the most brilliant attacking centre of his era bar none, he played his last game against England in 1932, a season during which he also played against the touring South Africans.
The small-sided version of our great game came about thanks to Borders’ lad Edward ‘Ned’ Haig. Born in Jedburgh on 7 December 1858, he moved to Melrose as a youth, taken on as an apprentice by local butcher, Davie Sanderson.
After playing in the town’s annual Fastern’s E’en Ba – a traditional ball game, played on the Thursday before Lent – Ned became interested in the related game of rugby and he and Davie joined the local Melrose RFC side in 1880. Starting off in the seconds, he soon made forays into the first XV and also made appearances for the South.
In 1883, however, Ned’s Melrose club was reportedly suffering a shortage of cash and, during a club meeting, Ned – who was then captain – suggested putting on a (rugby) tournament as part of a fundraising sports day. There wasn’t enough time to play several full XV rugby games in one afternoon, so teams were pared down to seven men, with match times reduced to 15 minutes.
On 28 April 1883, a cold and wet day, the first Melrose Sports kicked off at 12.30 at the Greenyards. The event included foot races, drop-kicks, dribbling races and place kicking as well as the main draw of the rugby tournament – the ‘Football Game’ – which attracted eight teams and around 1600 spectators. As play progressed, Melrose – for whom scrum half Ned and stand off Davie Sanderson had formed a great pairing – and Gala were left to decide the result of the final. After fifteen minutes of a fast and bruising encounter, but with no score, the captains agreed to play another quarter of an hour. After ten minutes, Melrose scored a try and claimed the cup – funded and presented by the ladies of the town – and the sport of rugby sevens was born.
After he retired from playing, Ned continued to be active in the Melrose club, serving for several seasons on the general and match committees, and also enjoyed taking part in cricket, curling and golf. He died in Melrose on 29 March 1939, his legacy to rugby and the world of sport truly immense.
As Ned Haig gave sevens to the world, so the trophy that’s played for during the final leg of the HSBC World Series in Edinburgh has been named in recognition of his contribution; and in 2008 the IRB inducted Ned Haig and Melrose RFC into its Hall of Fame. Altogether not bad going for a Borders’ butcher!
Kenneth James Forbes Scotland – a full-back/stand-off, from Heriot’s, Cambridge University, Leicester and Aberdeenshire – won 32 caps for his country.
Both his debut and last internationals came against France at Colombes, the former in 1957 – where he scored all Scotland’s points – and the latter in 1965. He was a world-class and gifted individual, who set new standards for full-back play, pioneering the counter-attack role – a player ahead of his time. One of the stars of the 1959 Lions tour to Australasia, scoring 12 tries, he also represented Scotland in cricket.
Sandy Carmichael MBE
Alexander Bennett Carmichael MBE, from West of Scotland, was one of the speediest, most versatile props ever to pull on an international jersey.
Making his debut against Ireland in 1967, he went on to earn 50 caps, a record for a Scottish forward at the time, and was notably involved in two heroic try-saving tackles in the victory over France in 1969. He played for the British Lions on the 1971 tour to New Zealand. One of the bravest and fairest players to grace the game, his last international came against Ireland in 1978.
Andy Irvine MBE
Andrew Robertson Irvine MBE earned 51 caps – 15 as captain – and scored 273 points for Scotland. One of rugby’s greatest running full backs, from Heriot’s, he made his international debut against the All Blacks in 1972.
With blistering pace and attacking from deep, he could turn off either foot and produce a thrilling display from nothing. Scotland’s first real superstar player, he also took part in television’s Superstars competition in 1978 and 1982, finishing respectively third and second in the British final. Selected for the British Lions against South Africa (1974 and 1980) and New Zealand (1977), he scored a record five tries in a single game during the latter tour.
Finlay Calder OBE
Uncompromising in both attack and defence, Finlay Calder made his Scotland debut against France in 1986.
The open side flanker, from Stewart’s Melville, went on to win 34 caps, his final international against New Zealand in the 1991 World Cup. Gritty, determined and a ruthless tackler, alongside Derek White and John Jeffrey he made up one of Scotland’s greatest back rows. He was the first Scottish player to captain the British Lions since Campbell-Lamerton in 1966, the first winning captain since Willie John McBride in 1974 and the only 20th century captain to lead the team to a series victory after losing the opening Test.
Bill McLaren CBE
No history of Scottish rugby would be complete without the inclusion of William Pollock McLaren CBE. If the world’s green fields provided the backdrop, and the Browns, Calders, Hastings et al the figures, then it was the voice of rugby that brought the sport’s rich tapestry alive.
Born in 1923, Bill’s early life was steeped in rugby, listening to tales of legends at Mansfield Park alongside his father, while delighting in the skills of his Hawick heroes.
Developing into a useful flanker, he went on to realise his dream of playing in the green jersey. His Hawick years were then interrupted by active service with the Royal Artillery in Italy during the Second World War.
After participating in a Scotland trial in 1947 and on the verge of a full international cap, Bill contracted tuberculosis and was forced to give up dreams not only of a Scotland berth but playing altogether. It was while hospitalised, however, that he tuned into broadcasting, commentating on table tennis games via the hospital radio.
Having studied physical education in Aberdeen, he went on to teach PE in the Borders and coached several Hawick youngsters who went on to represent Scotland including Jim Renwick, Colin Deans and Tony Stanger.
His media career kicked off as a junior reporter with the Hawick Express then the Glasgow Herald. In 1953, he made his national debut for BBC Radio, covering Scotland’s 12–0 loss to Wales. Fittingly, his last international TV commentary described the movements of the same combatants, at Cardiff some 49 years later.
For fifty years, his voice was synonymous with rugby, across the world. His overwhelming enthusiasm for the game was only matched by his vast knowledge, incredible attention to detail and totally unbiased views. His commentaries brought many fans to the game who had never watched a match and he truly was rugby’s greatest ambassador.
Awarded the MBE, OBE and CBE, the Freedom of Scottish Rugby in 2000 and the first non-international player to be inducted into the IRB’s Hall of Fame in 2001, Bill switched off his mic in 2002, his last ever commentary being saved for his beloved Melrose Sevens.
After a long illness, Hawick’s favourite son passed away peacefully at the local hospital in January 2010, aged 86. His memorial evening at Murrayfield Stadium saw the world of rugby converge from all corners of the globe to pay tribute to a real legend and a true gentleman.
Gavin Hastings OBE
Making his international debut against France in 1986, alongside brother Scott and David Sole, Andrew Gavin Hastings OBE, of Watsonians, London Scottish and Cambridge University, won a total of 61 caps for his country.
A world-class full back, he was Scotland’s leading points scorer of his generation, was pivotal in Tony Stanger’s match-winning try in the 1990 Grand Slam decider and, in 1995, scored the try and conversion that gave Scotland their first victory in Paris since 1969. Solid in defence, heroic in attack and superb with the boot, he captained Scotland and the British Lions.
Sir Ian Robert McGeechan OBE made his international debut as a player against New Zealand in 1972. At centre, he was capped 32 times for Scotland – 20 at centre and 12 at standoff – led his country on nine occasions, and toured with the unbeaten British Lions in 1974 and in 1977, playing in all eight Tests.
He played his last international, against France, in 1979 and, in 1986, became the assistant Scotland coach. Promoted to coach in 1988, his team won a Grand Slam victory in the Five Nations Championship. British Lions coach in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2009, he re-joined Scotland as head coach in 1999. He is currently performance director with Bath.
Traversing the touchline for both his country and the British Lions,the contribution of James William Telfer to rugby at all levels over the last forty years has been immense.
Born in Melrose in 1940 and turning out in his youth for his home side and South of Scotland, he went on to represent Scotland at flanker.
He accrued 22 caps between his debut in the victory over France in 1964 and his last appearance, against Ireland in 1970; had it not been for injury, he would undoubtedly have won more. In most of these games he captained Scotland; in those that he didn’t, he was inevitably the leader of the pack, directing operations and exerting his authority.
Compensating for his lesser speed with impressive power, he was an amazingly fit player for his time, courageous, determined and technically excellent.
As a player, his moment came in 1969. Having defended bravely against an ever-threatening French side, the Scots secured victory when Telfer snatched a late try in the corner. It was to be another 26 years before Scotland won again in Paris.
A teacher by profession, first in chemistry and then a headmaster, Telfer was a natural leader whose authoritative air immediately commanded respect.
Selected for the Lions in 1966 and 1968, he was greatly impressed and hugely influenced by the style of play he witnessed on that first venture to New Zealand. He made 22 appearances during the 1966 tour and in 1968, though hampered by injury, he still led the Lions pack in more than half their 20 matches.
First appointed a national coach to Scotland B in 1974, he went on to coach Scotland to victory in the Grand Slam of 1984 and, as assistant to Ian McGeechan, to a second Slam in 1990. During his second term as head coach, in 1998/99, Scotland won the final Five Nations Championship.
Renowned for his punishing training sessions, he was head coach to the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand in 1983 and was assistant coach, with particular responsibility for the forwards, on the Lions tour of South Africa in 1997. Alongside countryman and rugby soulmate, Ian McGeechan, the Lions went on to score a famous Series victory.
Legendary Scotland second row and a fully-paid up component of the Mean Machine; a triple Lion and fierce competitor in the Battle of Boet Erasmus; a ruthless assassin on the pitch and a true gentleman off the field of play. Gordon Lamont Brown.
‘Broon frae Troon’ was born into sport – the son of Scotland goalkeeper John Brown, nephew of footballers Tom and Jim Brown, younger brother of Scotland back-row Peter Brown and with a mother who could wield a hockey stick with some distinction.
Gordon’s early interest was in the round rather than the oval ball. His conversion was reportedly the result of a particularly heated football tie, after which he reckoned ‘rugby would be safer’! He emerged on to the international stage in December 1969, from West of Scotland, having just turned 22.
After a winning debut against South Africa, he retained his place for the Five Nations opener against France. Dropped for the subsequent Wales match, he was replaced by brother Peter who revelled in breaking the news to Gordon. Peter was then injured in the match – and replaced at half-time by his younger sibling; the first occasion where a brother had replaced a brother in an international. When the Browns joined forces against England in 1970, it was the first time brothers had played together for Scotland since Angus and Donald Cameron in 1902.
Immovable in the scrum yet dynamic in the loose, Gordon went onto cement his place in Scotland’s front five of the early 1970s, the formidable Mean Machine that also featured Ian McLauchlan, Frank Laidlaw, Sandy Carmichael and Alastair McHarg. Between 1971 and 1976, Scotland lost just once at home, a narrow defeat to the All Blacks.
A giant of a man, both physically and figuratively, he formed a key partnership in the blue jersey with McHarg, winning 30 caps; in a Lions shirt, he was one of the world’s most ruthless competitors. Not only could he move but his outstanding handling skills resulted in eight tries on the Lions’ 1974 venture – including the brutal Battle of Boet Erasmus – a record for a forward. He played in eight Lions’ Tests between 1971 and 1977, playing a major part in the 1971 and 1974 victories.
His final Test was for the Lions against the All Blacks in 1977, though his hardest battle came two decades later, with the diagnosis of non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A battler to the end, he died in 2001, aged just 53.
Mark Coxon Morrison, a forward from Royal High School FP, won 23 caps for Scotland between 1896 and 1904. Just 18 when he made his international debut against Wales, he went on to captain Scotland on 15 occasions, including two Triple Crowns in 1901 and 1903. He also led the British Isles tour to South Africa in 1903, winning three caps, and was the first Scottish captain to win three Calcutta Cups, a tally, which included his last international against England at Inverleith. Aged 29 he retired from playing to concentrate on his farming business, and went on to be President of the Scottish Rugby Union in season 1934/35.
Ian Scott Smith, born in Melbourne to Scottish parents was educated in Edinburgh and continued to Oxford, then to Edinburgh University where he studied accountancy. He took up rugby at Oxford and played for both his university sides, and London Scottish, on the wing. Scoring twice on his international debut, against Wales in 1924, he went on to win 32 caps and still jointly holds the Scottish try-scoring record (24) with Tony Stanger. He also played for the British Isles touring team in South Africa in 1924. Dubbed the “Flying Scot”, his exceptional pace and high knee action made him a difficult opponent to tackle and his diagonal cross-field punts were delivered with pinpoint accuracy. His eight tries in partnership with Phil Macpherson, against France and Wales in 1925, fuelled Scotland’s Grand Slam that season. After captaining Scotland to the 1933 Grand Slam he hung up his boots, saw active service in World War Two, practised as a solicitor in Edinburgh then retired to Kelso, passing away in 1972.
Hugh McLeod OBE
Born and raised in Hawick, Hugh Ferns McLeod made his international debut against France in 1954 and won his 40 caps at prop consecutively, to set a new Scottish record to beat John Bannerman’s haul of 37.
The ‘Hawick Hardman’ was a fitness fanatic and a superb scrummaging technician who could play on either side of the scrum. A double Lion in 1955 and 1959, he played in all six tests in 1959. He played 14 times for the Barbarians between 1954 and 1959, scoring a try in their 1958 match and in 1955 and 1959, played for Scotland and Ireland sides against England and Wales.
His last international was the draw, against England in March in 1962. Off the field, he worked in the building trade and went on to own a sports shop. He played all his club rugby for Hawick, went on to be President, and was recently named in the club’s greatest ever team.
Ian McLauchlan OBE
John ‘Ian’ McLauchlan was born in Tarbolton, Ayrshire and educated at Ayr Academy and Jordanhill College where he studied physical education. The loosehead prop, who played his rugby with Jordanhill, Glasgow and Natal, made his international debut against England at Twickenham in 1969.
He was capped 43 times for Scotland and led the national side on 19 occasions (ten of which Scotland won). An outstanding scrummager and dynamic in the loose, he was central to the British & Irish Lions Test series successes in New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974. Also captain of the Barbarians and the Wolfhounds, his final Scotland cap came against New Zealand at Murrayfield in 1979.
Off the field, McLauchlan was a teacher for 14 years before setting up his own marketing and sponsorship business. He is chairman of the British & Irish Lions Trust, served two terms as Scottish Rugby Union President (2010-12), is a non Executive Director on the Scottish Rugby Board and also serves as one of Scotland’s directors on ERC.
Born and bred in Hawick, where he excelled at swimming as a youngster, James Menzies Renwick had the late Bill McLaren as his PE teacher at school. He played for Hawick Harlequins and Hawick, and was just 19 when he made his Scotland debut, against France in 1972, scoring a try to boot. In all, the centre earned 52 caps for his country – breaking Andy Irvine’s then record of 51, against Romania in 1984, his final international.
At his most dangerous in attack, Renwick excelled at jinking round the opposition, swerving at pace and possessed superb handling skills. A reliable tackler and with an outstanding drop-kick, the stats highlight that he seemed at his best when facing the Welsh, scoring more tries against them than any other side he faced. In 1980 he was selected for the British Lions tour to South Africa and played in one Test. Through the Winning Scotland Foundation, Renwick has been a mentor to Stuart Hogg, the next international player after Renwick – following a 40-year gap – to be capped as a teenager.
While studying to become an architect, David George Leslie was first capped against Ireland in 1975, but did not become a regular in the Scotland squad until 1981. The flanker, from Dundee, West of Scotland and Gala, who represented his country on 32 occasions, is revered as one of the most focussed and fearless players of his generation.
A great reader of the game, his passing and receiving of ball was spectacular. Central to the 1984 Grand Slam campaign, he also scored Scotland’s first try against Romania that year – only his second score for Scotland – and was voted Rugby World’s Player of the Year. He went on to coach Dundee HSFP and the Scotland under-21 side following retirement from playing.
Gary Armstrong OBE
One of the toughest, most dynamic attackers of his generation, Gary Armstrong was first capped, aged 21, against Australia in 1988. The scrum half, from Jed-Forest and Newcastle Falcons, made 51 international appearances and was frequently lauded by Scotland supporters. Alongside Craig Chalmers, he was selected for the 1989 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and the duo also took centre stage during the 1990 Grand Slam. A noted try-saving tackler, he persecuted his opposition at every opportunity on every playing stage. After captaining Scotland to the final Five Nations Championship in 1999, he retired from international rugby, but continued to play with Newcastle. He hung up his boots finally in 2004 after returning to play club rugby with the Borders.
Chris Paterson MBE
As an 18-year-old in 1996, Christopher Douglas Paterson made his debut in senior club rugby for Gala, the highlight being a solo try that won the club the 1999 Scottish Cup at Murrayfield.
While studying to become a PE teacher he turned professional, signing first for Glasgow, for whom he played twice, before moving to Edinburgh Rugby. At fullback, Paterson earned his first cap for Scotland against Spain in the 1999 Rugby World Cup and, in one remarkable ten-month period in 2007/08 he kicked 36 consecutive goals for Scotland, not missing a single attempt during the 2007 Rugby World Cup or the 2008 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
He captained Scotland in 2004 and made his final international appearance at the 2011 Rugby World Cup match against England, retiring as Scotland’s leading points scorer (809) and with 109 caps. He continued to play for Edinburgh Rugby until May 2012 when he moved to take on a dual role as Scottish Rugby ambassador and specialist coach.
Edinburgh-born hooker Norman George Robertson Mair made his Scotland debut against France at Colombes in 1951, going on to win another three caps that year. Educated at Merchiston Castle School and Edinburgh Academy, he continued his studies and his rugby at Edinburgh University. Mair was also a gifted cricketer – a left-hand batsman and slow left-arm bowler – and was capped in 1952 for his country.
He went on to become a journalist, primarily for The Scotsman on rugby and golf, and is married to Lewine Mair, who was the first woman to work as a golf correspondent of a national newspaper. In addition to being a panel member for Scottish Rugby’s inaugural Hall of Fame, Mair also held a similar role with the IRB.
A natural athlete with a fine rugby brain, John Young Rutherford made his international debut against Wales in 1979 and won 42 caps for Scotland at fly-half. Playing out of Selkirk and the South, he was picked to play at inside centre on the British Lions tour to New Zealand in 1983 and went on to be a major presence in Scotland’s 1984 Grand Slam. Rutherford partnered Jed-Forest scrum half Roy Laidlaw in 35 tests, at the time a record international half-back pairing. Rutherford also played in the British & Irish Lions side against a Rest of the World XV as part of the IRB centenary celebration in 1986, and his final game for Scotland was their first match in the 1987 Rugby World Cup against France when he sustained a knee injury early in the fixture. After retiring from playing, Rutherford went on to work in the financial sector, and is currently a Director of the Bill McLaren Foundation.
Rutherford came top in the public vote ahead of Gregor Townsend, John Bannerman, Douglas Elliot and Bill Maclagan.
A back-row forward capped 29 times between 1947 and 1954, Douglas Elliot played through one of the darkest periods in Scottish Rugby history and yet his reputation as a phenomenally strong player was global.
He captained Scotland on seven occasions, including his quite awe-inspiring leadership that saw a Welsh team brim full of British Lions usurped 19-0 in 1951.
His work as a farmer, and his loyalty to the family farm in the Borders, meant he never toured on the then six-month sojourns with the British and Irish Lions.
He passed away in 2005 and the outpouring of grief from throughout the rugby world was testimony to his talent.
Donna Kennedy is still the most capped rugby Scot of all time, winning 115 caps for her country in an international career which spanned 17 years and started with Scotland Women’s first ever international against their Irish counterparts in 1993.
Her international journey saw her win a Grand Slam and gain recognition from World Rugby as a Player of the Year.
A hard No 8 from the Biggar club in Lanarkshire, playing retirement was not the end of the story, as coaching in the higher levels of the club game beckoned.
She also gave her name to a cup contested by Scotland’s leading women players.
Mark Robertson retired from the seven-a-side game last May and what a way to bow out! He was part of a Scotland Sevens squad that defeated New Zealand for the first time and, then, five hours later, beat
England at Twickenham to win the London Sevens title on the World Series circuit for the second successive year.
During last season’s World Series, Robertson scored 22 tries, taking his career tally for Scotland 7s above the 100 mark.
He also was a key member of team GB, who on rugby’s return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016, won a silver medal.
During his career, Mark also won Edinburgh Rugby and Scotland A honours. He is now part of the Scotland management team as a strength and conditioning coach and he follows in the footsteps of the creator of sevens, Ned Haig, also of Melrose, by being inducted to the Hall of Fame.
James Robson MBE
Dr James Robson has given unstinting service to rugby from the club game in Dundee to duty at more than 200 Test matches for Scotland and British and Irish Lions.
Originally a physiotherapist, Dr Robson, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, is one of the longest-serving medics in the game, with six Rugby World Cups and six British & Irish Lions tours to his credit.
He brings to life rugby’s stated aim that the health and welfare of 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.