Lions Legend: Gavin Hastings

Twice a popular squad member, a respected skipper and the leading points scorer in Test rugby for the world's most-famous touring team, Gavin Hastings can boast a lengthy list of Lions achievements. [more]

Lions Legend: Gavin Hastings

Twice a popular squad member, a respected skipper and the leading points scorer in Test rugby for the world’s most-famous touring team, Gavin Hastings can boast a lengthy list of Lions achievements.

Capped 61 times for his country, the elder of Scotland's rugby playing Hastings brothers scored 66 points in Test matches for the Lions.

Having represented the Lions in a one-off Test against the Rest of the World in 1986, the 27-year-old kicked eight penalties and scored a crucial try as the Lions came from 1-0 down to win a thrilling series in Australia three years later.

Hastings appeared in a total of seven fixtures on that tour, starting all three Tests and helping the Lions return home victorious for the first time since 1974.

Despite many expecting England's Will Carling to skipper the 1993 Lions to New Zealand, it was Hastings who was given the honour of leading the tourists into action against the All Blacks. Hastings performed the job admirably, with the Lions coming close to recording a memorable series victory.

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The then Watsonians full back again played all three Tests as the Lions won 20-7 in Wellington in between narrowly missing out in Christchurch and falling to a 30-13 defeat in Auckland in the final rubber.

Hastings appeared in senior Scottish colours for almost a decade, scoring 667 points and winning the 1990 Grand Slam in the process.

He became the first player to captain a Scotland schoolboys side to victory in England and also led Cambridge University to success in the 1985 Varsity match at Twickenham.

His kicking prowess earned him a spell in American Football with the Scottish Claymores, while he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003 and is regarded by many as one of the greatest Scottish rugby players of all time.

Gavin Hastings' factfile

Date of birth: January 3 1962
Clubs: London Scottish, Watsonians, Cambridge University
International caps: Scotland 61
Height: 6ft 2in (1.88m)
Weight: 14 stone 3lbs (95kg)

Hastings' Lions lowdown

Lions debut: Versus Australia B, June 14, 1989
Lions Tests: 6 (All three Tests in 1989 and all three Tests in 1993)
Lions non-Test appearances: 10
Total Lions appearances: 16 (seven in 1989, nine in 1993)
Lions points: 170 (under the current scoring system)
Final Lions appearance: Versus New Zealand , Auckland, July 3, 1993


Gavin Hastings is the leading points scorer in Test rugby for the Lions

On the unknowns in Australia in 1989

"We did not know how good Australia were going to be. It turned out that it was one of the hardest tours I have ever been on. We knew that Australia had achieved the rand Slam in 1984 and that, in 1988 when they again came over, England had beaten them convincingly by 28-19 but they had easily beaten Scotland 32-13. In the summer of 1988, England lost both Tests in Australia fairly substantially, so we had a shrewd feeling that life with the Lions in Australia was not going to be easy.

"Looking back, it was a lovely country to visit on a tour and it was hugely enjoyable, largely because the man in the street in Australia knows little about Rugby Union. You can walk around town without being recognised, nobody knows who you are, so it is a great deal more relaxed, off the field, than touring New Zealand."


Hastings (right) helped the Lions defeat Australia on the first of his two tours

On captaining the 1993 Lions

"Without doubt, the pinnacle of my rugby career was to be selected as captain of the British & Irish Lions on their 1993 tour of New Zealand.

"It was something that gave me a marvellous sense of personal fulfilment, but at the same time I was also aware of the enormous honour that the selectors had conferred on me, by recognising that I was the best man to lead the Lions. It was, therefore, an extremely unnerving responsibility and a severe challenge.

"It was a fabulous honour to captain the Lions in New Zealand, for I like the country and I respect New Zealand rugby players. At the same time, I would like to think that they respect me as a rugby player because I performed to a level in New Zealand that I am proud of, and I am similarly proud of the way that the Lions performed in the Test series. We held our heads high, we conducted ourselves well, both on and off the field, and you cannot hope for, or expect, anything more than that."

On why he earned such an honour

"I had the benefit of having been on the previous Lions tour in 1989 and I think I had the even greater benefit of being known to New Zealand and its rugby people.

"I had been out there in 1987 for the World Cup with Scotland and stayed to play club rugby for Auckland University. I went back with Scotland in 1990 and returned in 1992, this time with a World XV to celebrate the centenary of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

"I think all those factors were extremely important in advancing my claims for the captaincy and I think it was a decision seen as a good one out in New Zealand. I also believe that I had huge support in the British Isles."


The Lions registered a superb second Test win in Wellington in 1993

On the toughest of playing environments

"It was a fascinating experience and I am sure that everyone who went on tour was richer for it. To me, that is what playing top-level rugby is about. It is not playing in front of your home crowd or 50,000 people at Murrayfield; if you really want to test yourself, the place to do it is New Zealand because, as far as I am concerned, it is the hardest place I know to play rugby. There are no easy games in New Zealand, the pressure is intense, there is no hiding place and you just have to get on with it.

"It was a great credit to the Lions that we came to the third and deciding Test match with the series squared at one-each. The highlight of the tour was the second Test victory in Wellington, but it was extremely difficult to raise our game to that level two weeks in a row."

On the nature of touring with the Lions

"The reality of a Lions tour is probably far less glamorous than the expectancy before it all happens. It is, however, a tremendous experience for young men. There is an immense amount of hard work and application, and even, at times, moments of boredom. You have to live with new people and if the relationships are going to be happy and successful, there has to be a lot of give and take.

"The coming together of the best players from all the Home Nations is something very special, and I think that people treat it as such and regard it as a great honour. I certainly did. I would not have missed the experience for anything, for it was another glorious episode in what for me has been a marvellous life in rugby.

On the future of the Lions

"Some people have expressed the view that Lions tours should be done away with and that only individual countries should tour. I would never agree and I do not think Lions tours are a thing of the past. If anything, they are the way forward. Touring with the Lions is a totally different experience from touring with your country, for there is great charm in the amalgam of the best players of the four Home Unions."

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