A player of precocious talent, Jim Renwick was aged just nineteen when he won his first cap against France in 1972. It was the first of a then-record 52 appearances for Scotland.
As an attacking outside-centre Renwick was an individualist rather than a link-man. Indeed, he was often at his most dangerous collecting bad ball, when his ability to accelerate from a standing start, jinking and weaving and ducking under tackles, enabled him to split defences whose wit was not as sharp as his. Renwick was also a fine and consistent place-kicker – although rarely used at international level – a good, if one-footed, kicker from hand, and an excellent drop-kicker (he scored drop-goals against both Wales and France in season 1981-82). Despite all this, his game was characterized by a willingness to always to run the ball.
Renwick was a slightly unorthodox player, and considered suspect in defence in the early part of his career - this saw him left out of the 1977 Lions - although appearances were deceptive. While Renwick never tackled in the classic style, few men got passed him; he preferred a high, smothering tackle that also had the benefit of often allowing him to stay on his feet, and therefore stay in the game. Equally unorthodox in appearance, the sight of the later Renwick, bald and moustached, slightly rotund, with his head-nodding as he ran, jinking and weaving and breaking into open space, was one of the more peculiar joys of international rugby.