Tom Smith to be inducted into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame

Tom Smith will be inducted into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony at BT Murrayfield on Saturday when Scotland take on the Springboks.

Tom Smith training with Scotland in 2003. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Tom Smith training with Scotland in 2003. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

The former prop has been hailed as the “greatest Scotland player of the professional era” by Sir Ian McGeechan who, along with Jim Telfer, coached the Lions to their iconic Test series triumph over South Africa in 1997.

Smith was a cornerstone of that side and also played in the Lions tour four years later in Australia.

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He won 61 caps for Scotland and was instrumental in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations Championship success.

Tom Smith in action for the British & Irish Lions during the victorious tour of South Africa in 1997. Picture: David Rogers /Allsport
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He will be welcomed to BT Murrayfield for the induction ceremony with his family, wife Zoe, sons Angus and Teddy and daughter Amelie.

McGeechan, who is a member of Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame panel, said: “Tom is hugely deserving of this accolade. He was every inch the modern prop forward with sublime running and handling skills allied to the traditional strengths that are a pre-requisite for a front-row forward to flourish in the setpiece.

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“For me he has been the greatest Scotland player of the professional era to date.”

Smith, 50, coached at Edinburgh Rugby and in France before two years ago he had to focus on his own health, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

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Tom Smith in action for Scotland against Italy in 2003.

He has fought the condition as tenaciously as any contest on the rugby field, with support from all corners of the rugby world and from Scottish Rugby’s own charity, the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation.

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“I feel surprised, humbled and honoured to be inducted in the Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “Coming to Edinburgh to watch a new generation create their own legacy makes it more special.”

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John Jeffrey, the chairman of both the Scottish Rugby Board and the Hall of Fame panel, said: “Tom’s induction into the Hall of Fame is for resounding rugby reasons. But it’s also in keeping with our sports values that we salute the human being as well as the champion rugby player and send our very best wishes to Tom and his family.”

Smith, who played club rugby for Dundee HSFP, Watsonians, Caledonian Reds, Glasgow Caledonians, Brive and Northampton Saints, showed that you could manage epilepsy and still play international sport at the very highest level. He is an ambassador for the bowel cancer charity, 40tude.

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Five further five inductions to the Hall of Fame are taking place during the Autumn Nations Series.

Last week, before the match against Australia, the families of the late former Scotland internationals Vicky Galbraith and Keri Holdsworth, accepted their bespoke sculpted caps during their induction ceremony.

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On Saturday, Ally Ratcliffe will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A former Scotland internationalist, she became one of the first female head coaches of a men’s club first XV when she fulfilled that role at Langholm. She also played a key part in the school of rugby at Hawick High School from which Scotland caps Lisa Thomson and Darcy Graham have graduated.

On Sunday, Scotland Women’s 1998 Grand Slam captain Kim Littlejohn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame before Scotland Women play Japan at the Dam Health Stadium.

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Next week, Scottish Rugby past president Dee Bradbury will be inducted having been the first female president of a tier one union.

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