Fans given chance to honour Scottish rugby greats

Former Scotland fly-half John Rutherford is one of the five nominees for the SRU honour. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Former Scotland fly-half John Rutherford is one of the five nominees for the SRU honour. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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SCOTTISH supporters are to be given the choice to vote on the latest inductees into the new Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame with five players spanning 135 years nominated for the public vote.

The SRU revived the idea of a ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2010, after leaving the original line-up launched in 1999 to gather dust in the Murrayfield archives. Resurrected with a new panel of judges and commercial focus around a Murrayfield dinner, 12 legends of Scottish rugby were inducted three years ago. They were chosen by a panel chaired by former Scotland and British and Irish Lions flanker John Jeffrey, who was joined by fellow Scotland and Lions caps Sir Ian McGeechan, Chris Rea and John Beattie and the former Scotland hooker and Scotsman rugby journalist Norman Mair.

The dozen selected then were David Bedell-Sivright, Phil Macpherson, Ken Scotland, Sandy Carmichael, Andy Irvine, Finlay Calder, Gavin Hastings, Ian McGeechan, Jim Telfer, Gordon Brown, Ned Haig, the man credited with founding the game of rugby sevens, and the late ‘Voice of Rugby’ commentator Bill McLaren.

Gavin Hastings was chosen through a poll on the SRU website and with the panel now reconvened, albeit with Bill Johnstone, the BBC commentator and nephew of McLaren, taking on the journalist role from Mair, they are opening up a public vote to five nominations covering the past 100 years.

Those nominated are: Bill Maclagan, who made his Test debut in 1878, was an original ‘Lion’, and was Scotland’s record cap-holder for 60 years; Glasgow High School FPs lock John Bannerman, who played in 37 Scotland games in a row from 1921-29; W. I. Douglas Elliot, the outstanding Borders back rower once voted in Scotland’s top four players of all time; stand-off John Rutherford, who won 42 caps for Scotland and helped steer the 1984 team to Grand Slam glory; and Gala, Scotland and victorious British and Irish Lions stand-off Gregor Townsend, who won 82 caps and in 1999 became the first Scot to score a try against England, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy in the same spring.

Jeffrey said: “The panel had a tough task to select those who have made an enduring contribution to our game over the rich history of rugby in Scotland, going back to the 19th century.

“This time we wanted to open the public vote across the generations rather than focusing on a specific era and, frankly, any of the five contenders we’ve chosen for fans to consider would be a worthy recipient of Hall of Fame status.

“We decided to open up the public vote to all eras due to the outstanding contributions of previous generations which often go unrecognised.”

The 2013 Hall of Fame public vote will be run in conjunction with team sponsors RBS and conclude with a dinner at Murrayfield on Thursday 7 November, hosted by broadcaster Dougie Donnelly, with tickets priced at £189 per person.