Tributes paid to former Scotland international Tommy McClung

Tributes have been paid to the former Scotland rugby international Tommy McClung who has died at the age of 87.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 9:41 am
Tommy McClung was capped nine times by Scotland.
Tommy McClung was capped nine times by Scotland.

McClung won nine caps between 1956 and 1960, six of them in the centre and three at stand-off.

John Jeffrey, the Scottish Rugby chairman, told the SRU website: “I was fortunate to meet Tommy over the years and he was an absolute gentleman who always had time for a chat about all things rugby.

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“He epitomised playing hard on and off the pitch and was usually at the centre of any parties.

“He was also a great proponent of giving youth their head and loved to see Scottish youngsters running out to win their first cap.

“Everyone involved in Scottish Rugby will miss this great character of a man.”

McClung won his first cap in 1956 in Dublin, kicking two conversions in a 14-10 loss to Ireland at Lansdowne Road. He started at centre but finished the game at stand-off after first-choice fly-half Angus Cameron suffered a concussion.

McClung started at 10 the following month against England at Murrayfield. He set up debutant George Stevenson of Hawick for a try with a long, high pass but missed the conversion and England went on to lift the Calcutta Cup, winning 11-6.

In the following season’s Championship McClung was able to savour victory for the first time with Scotland, putting in a measured performance at stand-off as the home side enjoyed a 9-6 win over Wales at Murrayfield.

Jimmy Maxwell took over at 10 for the next game at home to Ireland, with McClung switching to outside centre. But the roles later reversed after Maxwell took a heavy tackle in a match the Irish won 5-3 in wet, freezing conditions in Edinburgh.

McClung stayed at centre for the Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham where England prevailed 16-3.

He returned to the Scotland side for the 1959 Five Nations Championship, playing at centre in the 9-0 loss to France at Stade de Colombes in Paris.

McClung enjoyed better fortunes against Wales, helping the Scots to a 6-5 win at Murrayfield, with Norman Bruce scoring a vital try.

He also played in an 8-3 defeat in Ireland that season before winning his final cap in an away game against Wales in 1960 which the hosts won 8-0.

He toured South Africa with Scotland in 1960 but did not feature in the Test match.

Schooled at Edinburgh Academy and Sedbergh, McClung was part of the Cambridge University side that won the 1954 Varsity match and was also instrumental in Edinburgh Accies winning the unofficial Scottish club championship in season 1955-56.

He represented the Barbarians on four occasions, joining the Easter tours to Wales in both 1956 and 1957.

A potato merchant by profession in Edinburgh, McClung is a member of the Edinburgh Accies Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Marion, children Fraser, Gilbert and Celia and eight grandchildren.

The SRU said: “Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Tommy McClung’s family and many friends.”


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