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Arthur Smith

Two tours, three Tests, 1955-62

Two tours, three Tests, 1955-62

(1962: 3 Tests)

Arthur Smith made the most spectacular of starts to his international career and went on to receive the greatest accolade of all in the captaincy of the Lions in South Africa in 1962. On his international debut in 1955, the Scotland wing ended his country's run of 17 straight defeats with a spectacular try against Wales that saw the game go down in history as 'Arthur Smith's match'.

By the season's end, that sort of form had made him a Lion, although a broken hand sustained in the opening match restricted him to just four appearances in one of the greatest of all the tourists' backlines.

When the Lions next returned to South Africa, they did so with Smith as captain. The Galloway-born former Scottish long jump champion had led his country 15 times, matching the record of 1903 Lions skipper Mark Morrison, and was making his fourth tour to the country, having also visited with Scotland and the Barbarians.

The 1962 side never hit the heights attained by their 1955 predecessors, but Smith still made enough of the ball he did receive on the wing to finish as top try-scorer with eight. That was not a new position for him to be in as he already held the same title with Scotland, having crossed the line an impressive 33 times in 33 internationals.

Smith combined the smooth acceleration of the 400m runner he was on the track with precise lines of running directed by the mathematician's brain that earned him first class honours at Glasgow University and a PhD at Cambridge.

The 1962 tour, on which injury kept him out of the final Test, was his international swan-song, although he went on to contribute off the field as one of the rugby thinkers who attended the Irish coaching camps of the 1960s that influenced the visionaries who put the Lions on the path to glory the following decade. Sadly, he died of cancer in 1975, aged just 42.

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