1955 Lion Ernie Michie dies aged 88

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Ernie Michie and 1955 Lions

Ernie Michie, who was part of the 1955 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa, has died at the age of 88.

A powerful lock, Michie didn’t feature in any of the Tests against the Springboks but did make 11 appearances in the famous red jersey on that Tour.

The first of those came in the 32-6 victory over Transvaal Universities, while the last came in the very final game of the Tour – a 39-12 win against East Africa in Nairobi, in which he scored his sole Lions try.

At the age of 21, he was the second-youngest member of the Lions squad in South Africa and one of the ‘dirt-trackers’ – the team which played in the midweek matches.

British & Irish Lions Profile: #381 Ernie Michie

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As a proud Scot, he also brought his bagpipes on Tour and, kilted, he would pipe the Test team on to the pitch.

“Why shouldn’t I have taken my pipes, it made sense to me,” Michie told The Scotsman in a 2015 interview.

Born in Aberdeen on 7 November 1933, Michie played his early rugby for Aberdeen GSFP and Aberdeen University before joining the Forestry Commission and moving south, turning out for London Scottish.

He made his Scotland debut against France as a 20-year-old in January 1954 and would make 15 Test appearances for his country across the following three years.

One of his early successes in the national jersey came as part of the team that beat Wales 14-8 at Murrayfield in the 1955 Five Nations – ending a run of 17 straight losses for Scotland that stretched back more than four years.

Shortly after that year’s Championship, he received a call-up for the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa and became Lion #381.

Nicknamed ‘Fourteen’ due to his weight (14 stone), the second-rower also spent a season with Leicester Tigers, represented Langholm RFC, played for the Army while in the Royal Engineers and earned a cap for the Barbarians during a distinguished rugby career.

Everyone associated with the British & Irish Lions would like to pass on their sympathies to Ernie Michie’s friends and family.

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