Ken Scotland made a mark on rugby in New Zealand

Ken Scotland WEB

Scotland played 27 Tests for Scotland and five Tests for the British & Irish Lions. He also played cricket for Scotland.

Scotland impacted New Zealand fans as a member of the 1959 Lions for his versatility. He played fullback, centre, first five-eighths and halfback during the tour, and his attacking skill and was one of the few touring players to be listed by the Rugby Almanack of New Zealand as one of its five players of the year.

"It [the tour] was very much the highlight of my sporting career and the memories both on and off the field are as vivid as ever," he said in his autobiography.

Scotland was the first player to demonstrate the now regulation in-step style of goal-kicking, although he described his success rate as 'streaky'.

Scotland said: "Although kicking with the instep is now the norm, it was a novelty in New Zealand in 1959. I kicked three goals with my instep against New Zealand Universities, which generated a lot of press comment and interest. [Scotland captained the Lions in the game, winning 25-13].

"At school, it was frowned upon to kick in this manner as it – apparently – smacked too much of football, but in the Edinburgh area at that time, although not common, it certainly could be effective…

"In New Zealand with the Lions, Terry Davies, John Faull, David Hewitt, Bev Risman and Malcolm Thomas were all regular orthodox kickers for club and country, so to get any kicks at all I had to do something different. I ended up taking kicks from wide out on the left side of the pitch as the round-the-corner style widened the angle. It was not unusual for David Hewitt, Bev Risman and myself to be taking kicks during the game."

Scotland said having so many kickers in a game put the Lions at a disadvantage, while New Zealand concentrated on one kicker, the toe-kicker Don Clarke.

Clarke cast his influence over the famous first Test in which he landed six penalty goals in answer to four tries scored by the Lions, only one of which was converted.

Scotland said the Lions felt they would win when getting out to a 17-9 lead with 20 minutes to play.

"But it wasn't to be. Don kicked three more goals, ably abetted by the referee, and the less said about the last quarter of an hour, the better.

"I have never been so disappointed or in such a bad temper at the end of a game before and for the first time ever I saw players crying in the dressing room."

Scotland said it was difficult from fullback to have an opinion on the refereeing, but he did feel one of Clarke's final penalties went over the top of a goalpost.

"With no neutral touch judges in those days, Mick English, who thought as I did, kept his flag down to signal no goal but was overruled by the referee."

Scotland recalled the All Blacks were, as always, 'extremely focused and really hard to beat, but they played to a pretty limited game plan. It was nine-and ten-man rugby.

"But, although they didn't do very much, what they did, they did with conviction and pace – so even if you knew what was coming, it was very hard to cope with," he said.

"Apart from the performance of their pack during the third Test, I wouldn't say that they were anywhere near the best side I played against – they had some good players but their tactics were limited."

Scotland also felt Clarke was underrated as a fullback.

"He had a reputation as a kicker, and as a lumbering player – but he tackled well, his positioning was excellent, and he had much more all-round ability than he was given credit for."


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