Obituary: Norman Suddon

Obituary: Norman Suddon

​Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death last night of former Scotland prop, Norman Suddon. He was 78.

Born in Cavers, Roxburghshire and educated at Denholm School, Norman Suddon won 13 caps out of the Hawick club between 1965 and 1970. He spent most of his working life as a manager in the knitwear industry that was as much a part of the fabric of Hawick as rugby.

Loose-head was his preferred berth, but he moved forward to the front-row of the scrum after having spent his first four seasons in the Hawick club playing as a lock.

In the 1963-64 season, he was one of six Hawick forwards in the South team (there were a further three of the Greens in the backs), who came so tantalisingly close to accounting for the touring All Blacks.

Suddon made his Scotland debut as a 21-year-old against Wales at Murrayfield in February 1965 and played in a 3-all draw against England at Twickenham in his first season.

Later that year, he enjoyed victory in the Scotland jersey for the first time when South Africa were defeated 8-5 at Murrayfield.

In his match report in the Glasgow Herald, John Downie praised Suddon and his colleagues in the Scotland pack. “Never in modern times has a Springbok pack been outplayed as this one was. The heels against the head went 3:1 in favour of the Scots, their lineout work was better than I have ever were usually content to pile up on the ball so that no-one could get it out!”

Suddon did not return to Scotland duty until some 20 months later, part of the team that won 11-5 against Australia on home soil in December 1966.

The previous month he had the distinction of captaining the South when they became the first Scottish district to defeat an overseas touring team, accounting for the Wallabies 13-0 at Mansfield Park.

Suddon won on three more occasions on Scotland Test match duty: against Australia, again, in 1968; France, in the oft-highlighted 6-3 victory courtesy of a Jim Telfer try at Stade Colombes in 1969; and England at Murrayfield in 1970.

He made 16 appearances for the Barbarians, scoring a try in a 47-3 win against Bradford and Bingley in October 1965; captaining the renowned invitation team to victory by 28-11 against Swansea in 1969; and later that year played in four matches on a tour of South Africa.

He was also a prolific sevens player, being part of the famous Hawick seven who won ten tournaments on the Border circuit in succession from 1966 through until 1967.

He went on to act as coach and selector for the Hawick club for whom he was a life member.

His son, Keith, followed him into the Hawick team, and his grandson, Daniel, was playing second-row for the Southern Knights as the Super6 Sprint season got underway last weekend.

Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to all Norman Suddon’s family and many friends.

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