An inspirational leader and a dynamic, handling forward, David Sole will be forever remembered as the captain of Scotland’s 1990 Grand Slam-winning side.
First capped in 1986 in the 18-17 victory over France, David Sole was the archetypal modern forward, with excellent handling ability, ferociously competitive in the loose, and with a turn of pace that belied the traditional prop’s attributes. Although criticised in some quarters for his set-piece play, he was always a better scrummager than his critics gave him credit for - in any case the game was changing and Sole’s athletic and skilful style represented the future.
As well as his Scotland duties, Sole was the first-choice loosehead prop with the victorious 1989 British Lions in Australia, performing magnificently in all three Tests. His leadership qualities were obvious again on that Tour when he captained the Lions on two occasions, acting a Fin Calder’s deputy. Sole also led the Barbarians on several occasions and in 1992 enjoyed a rare victory over New Zealand skippering a World Invitation XV.
From his debut until his perhaps too-early international retirement in 1992, David Sole was a fixture in the Scotland side, always to be found at the centre of the action in his trademark white headband. Ian McGeechan commented, “As captain he was no tub-thumper but he carried so much respect among the players that he no need to be.”