Ken Scotland

Ken Scotland

One tour, 5 Tests, 1959

One tour, 5 Tests, 1959

Ken Scotland was a player ahead of his time. JPR Williams and Andy Irvine may be the first names that spring to mind on the subject of attacking Lions full-backs, but the art they perfected was the one pioneered by Scotland two decades earlier.

The Scottish international was not only the reliable sheet anchor of that remarkable Lions backline of 1959 , he also offered it yet another unpredictable option in attack.

Scotland , who turned 23 on tour, had a peerless sense of both the timing of his incursions into the three-quarter line and the pace at which to make them. A smooth change of gear enabled him to glide deceptively through the gaps he spotted ahead of him while assessing the options available around him.

He scored 12 tries in the 22 appearances that made him the second most-played Lion on the tour, including a hat-trick in the opening match against Hawke's Bay and a spectacular solo effort that won the game against Thames Valley-Bay of Plenty.

The New Zealand Rugby Almanac rated him the Lion "most likely to win a match for his side" and named him as one of its five players of the year, alongside fellow tourists Bev Risman, Rhys Williams and Terry Davies.

As well as being the supreme counter-attacker of his age, Scotland was a pioneer in other areas of his game, particularly in the range of kicking methods he had at his disposal. Apart from having mastered the art of applying a torpedo screw to his punting from hand, he was also one of the first players to employ the round-the-corner style of place-kicking that became standard in the modern game.

Scotland was one of the Lions' most versatile performers too. A Scottish cricket international, he also turned out on the 1959 tour as a centre, stand-off and scrum-half, appearing in the midfield in the victorious final Test.

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