Obituary: Donald Scott

Obituary: Donald Scott

Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death earlier today of former Scotland wing/centre Donald Scott. He was 96.

Donald Macdonald Scott was born on 15 April 1928 in Langholm.

He went on to win ten caps for Scotland between 1950 and 1953 out of the Langholm and Watsonians clubs. Five of the caps on the wing, five in the centre.

He made his debut on the wing against Ireland in Dublin in February 1950 and remained on the wing, one month later, for his Murrayfield international debut against England.

Pictured: The Scotland team to take on England, 1951, with Donald Scott second from the right, back row. 

That match marked the silver jubilee of the stadium and saw Scotland achieve a 13-11 victory, with Donald Scott playing a pivotal role in one of Scotland’s two tries through Edinburgh Accies centre Donald Sloan, dribbling a loose ball over the line for Sloan to pounce.

Scott was one of the Scotland backs singled out. He “defended well and showed a fine adventurous spirit.” The correspondent in the Glasgow Herald further observed: “There were times when we less gallant spirits in the stand found their far-flung overhead passes and risky short kicks a trifle nerve wracking, but such unorthodoxly proved profitable in the long run.”

That match was decided by a conversion by debutant full-back Tommy Gray of Heriot’s, who was on target in spite of having lost part of his left foot during the Second World War!

For his third Scotland cap, a year later, Donald Scott, had switched to centre and, once again, played a critical role, in a famous Scotland victory, this time by 19-0 against a Welsh team containing 11 British & Irish Lions.

Playing alongside Donald Sloan, the pair never allowed their Welsh counterparts to get the better of them.

One contemporary newspaper report said: “Donald Scott, who had been severely shaken by several fierce but legal crash tackles earlier in the game, proved both his fitness and defiant fighting spirit by corkscrewing past (two Welsh players) and then drawing the full-back and winger before passing to Bob Gordon who raced in for the first try in his first international.”

That win against the Welsh was to be Scotland’s last success for four long years – a period of 17 losses in a row.

Donald Scott’s last match for Scotland was against France in Paris in January 1953.

He also represented the Barbarians twice on the 1951 Easter tour but his stellar contribution on the field was thereafter to be marked by an equally significant contribution off it.

As principal teacher of physical education at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, he nurtured such sporting luminaries as Chris Hoy and Gavin and Scott Hastings on their fledgling steps to greatness.

Gavin Hastings said: “I was lucky enough to be coached by Donald at Watson’s.  He was just a tremendous coach. He certainly was someone who had time for everybody.

“As a coach, he just wanted to make players better. He was a great human being, great motivator and always had time for people.

“I had a huge amount to thank him for as he was very influential in setting me on the right path as a youngster.”

Donald Scott’s successor at George Watson’s, Roy Mack, said: “Donald was a lovely man. He was one of Scotland’s foremost schoolmasters, who set high standards and for whom values, and respect mattered.  He was held in great esteem by staff and pupils.”

Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Donald Scott’s family and many friends. Donald’s funeral will take place at Mortonhall Crematorium on Tuesday 23 July at 2pm.

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