Rugby mourns Mick English

Mick English, a Lions tourist 51 years ago, died last week at the age of 76. [more]

Rugby mourns Mick English

Mick English, a Lions tourist 51 years ago, died last week at the age of 76.

English toured Australia and New Zealand with the Lions in 1959, playing two games before being forced home early through injury.

The Bohemian, Lansdowne and Munster fly-half featured in the 39-11 win over Queensland and the 23-14 victory over Poverty Bay/East Coast.

English won 16 caps for Ireland between 1958 and 1963 but was widely regarded as unfortunate not to win many more. That number would surely have been far higher had it not been for the stature of the player who kept him waiting for his first international appearance and the man whose rise to prominence ended his Ireland career.

English made his debut for Ireland against Wales at Lansdowne Road on March 15, 1958, taking over at outside-half from Lions legend Jack Kyle.

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He was in turn replaced by another Lions great six seasons later when Mike Gibson became one of his country’s leading lights.

Noted for his sense of humour, English famously described his attempt to tackle opposite number Phil Horrocks-Taylor in a Test against England in the following way: "Horrocks went one way, Taylor went the other and I was left holding the bloody hyphen!"

English was noted for his impressive kicking game and was often called ‘Mick the Kick’ yet he scored just nine points for Ireland courtesy of three drop goals.

He made his last appearance for Ireland against the All Blacks in December 1963.

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