Lions legend Smith inducted into Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

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Tom Smith walks out into Murrayfield with the match ball after being inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

Two-time British & Irish Lions tourist Tom Smith has been announced as the latest inductee into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame in recognition of his incredible career.

Smith was part of the famous 1997 series-winning side before touring again four years later, becoming the only Scottish player to have played in six consecutive Lions Tests.

The loosehead prop was selected for his first Lions Tour to South Africa despite only having three Scotland caps to his name, having made his debut four months previously.

Profile: Lion #668 Tom Smith

Smith played a pivotal role both in scrummage and in loose play in a Lions pack that more than held their own against the mighty Springboks as they secured a memorable 2-1 series win.

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And Sir Ian McGeechan, who along with Jim Telfer, coached the Lions to that iconic triumph, has hailed Smith as the “greatest Scotland player of the professional era”.

Tom Smith on 1997 Tour

Four-time Lions head coach McGeechan, who is also 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.

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

Smith went on to be a cornerstone of the team that toured four years later in Australia, playing in all three Tests once again against the Wallabies to cement his place in Lions history.

Lion-hearted Tom Smith still roaring

Fittingly, the 50-year-old, who won 61 caps for his country, was inducted into the Hall of Fame at BT Murrayfield where Scotland were playing none other than South Africa in the Autumn Nations Series – with Smith delivering the match ball to fellow Lion Stuart Hogg before kick-off.

He was joined at the induction ceremony by his family, wife Zoe, sons Angus and Teddy and daughter Amelie and Smith admitted he was humbled by the honour.

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

Smith played his club rugby for Dundee HSFP, Watsonians, Caledonian Reds, Glasgow Caledonians, Brive and Northampton Saints.

Tom Smith walks out into Murrayfield with the match ball after being inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame

He also captained Scotland during an eight-year international career, playing an instrumental role in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations Championship success.

Following his retirement in 2009, Smith coached at Edinburgh and in France before two years ago he had to focus on his own health, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Smith fought the condition as tenaciously as any contest on the rugby field, with support from all corners of the rugby world and the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation.

He also put the plight of others before himself by becoming an ambassador for the bowel cancer charity, 40tude, which aims to raise awareness and funds for research into the UK’s second biggest killer for cancer.

Scottish Rugby Board Chairman and Hall of Fame Panel chair, John Jeffrey, 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.”

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