Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death yesterday of former international referee and Scottish Rugby General Committee member Ray Megson. He was 77.
Ray Megson was a trailblazer both professionally and in his pastime to which he devoted so much, rugby.
Born in Sheffield, his family moved to Australia, where he spent his childhood. He came to Scotland when his parents’ marriage was over and began schooling at Douglas Ewart High School in Newton Stewart in Dumfries & Galloway.
Soon he was playing either stand-off or centre for Wigtownshire in Stranraer and then headed to Edinburgh University to study law.
Megson was one of the first Scottish lawyers to become a solicitor advocate and appear in all layers of the Scottish courts, including the High Court, where he appeared as lead counsel in numerous cases.
In rugby, he first joined Musselburgh and then moved to Edinburgh Wanderers in the late 1960s when they were one of Scotland’s top clubs and nurtured a back division which included Alan Lawson, Roger Proudfoot, Dave Tweedie and, latterly, Bill Gammell.
Megson, then operating on the wing, made his debut for the Edinburgh District side against Northumberland at Inverleith in 1974. He was also a keen sevens player, but it was a shoulder injury in Amsterdam in 1977 – a year on from winning the tournament – which brought an end to his playing career.
He then took up the whistle and was appointed to the International Referees’ Panel in 1985.
Two years later, he handled his first international between Wales and England in Cardiff, which the hosts won.
Megson went on to handle a further nine full cap international matches, including a Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand in August 1991 in Sydney and, his final Test match, a Tri-Nations game in Christchurch in 1996 where New Zealand defeated South Africa 15-11 and gained some revenge for their Rugby World Cup final defeat the previous year.
The fitness, which had characterised Megson as a player, was also evident as a referee and was pivotal in his appointment for a Hong Kong Sevens final between Fiji and New Zealand.
When Megson retired from refereeing, he continued to articulate his support for match officials, representing referees on the Scottish Rugby Union general committee in the early noughties.
Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to all Ray Megson’s family and friends.
Ray’s funeral will be held at Borders Crematorium, next to Wairds Cemetery, Melrose, TD6 9HA on Friday 19 May at 2pm.
Pictured, main header image: Ray (centre) flanked by two fellow Scottish international referees Brian Anderson (left) and Jim Fleming (right) when Ray joined Brian and Jim on the International Referees’ Panel.