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Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith was a wing of extraordinary ability with a first-rate rugby brain - this last fact evidenced by the fact that he skippered both Scotland and the 1962 British Lions despite playing in the position generally reckoned to be least suited to captaincy.

Smith, an extremely bright man who achieved a first-class degree in mathematics and then a PhD at Cambridge, was first capped in 1955 against Wales, scoring a remarkable try on his debut. He went on to win 33 caps for Scotland out of four different clubs and was never dropped.

Smith was a deadly finisher whose elegant running style allowed him a remarkable control of pace and a devastating change of direction. Never built for brute power, Smith used guile instead. He was a master of the chipped kick ahead or the cross-kick inside and always reluctant to let an attack finish. He was equally astute in defence, again never devastating but always efficient. Few opponents got the better of him.

Smith was twice a British Lion, both times in South Africa. First picked in 1955, he was unfortunate on that tour to break a bone in his wrist that limited his playing appearances to four matches. Ever resourceful, Smith used the time to practise his goal-kicking, becoming a first-class kicker in addition to his other skills.

As one observer has noted, 'Arthur Smith’s style of play seemed so natural that it represented a perfect standard. Nobody has ever worn the Number 14 jersey for Scotland since with quite the same authority.’

 
 
 

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