Former rugby star Ian Thomson dies

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Scottish Rugby has been saddened to learn of the death of former Scotland full-back Ian Thomson. He passed away last Saturday morning aged 84.

Ian Hosie Munro Thomson was one of the great line of eight Heriots’ full-backs – which started with Dan Drysdale in the 1925 Grand Slam winning team – who went on to represent Scotland. It was a tradition carried on by such luminaries as British Lions Ken Scotland and Andy Irvine.

Thomson made his international debut as an 11th hour call-up for a fellow Herioter, Tommy Gray, against Wales at Murrayfield in 1951.

It was a match hailed by some commentators as the “most remarkable result” in the championship’s history.

Aged just 20 at the time, he came into the side to play Wales on the morning of the game as Gray called off with a cold.

The match was played in front of a then record crowd of 80,000, though others estimated that there were some 90,000 souls in the ground (including some 20,000 Welsh supporters).

The Welsh side included 11 British Lions and had already defeated England comfortably at home that season.

None of the Scottish back division was over 22-years-old. Thomson kicked a penalty on his debut to give Scotland a 3-0 half-time lead and brought down the curtain on Scotland’s 19-0 victory with the conversion of Hamish Dawson’s try, Scotland’s third that day. The match also went down in folklore given a long-range drop-goal by Scotland’s captain and No 8, Peter Kininmonth.

Thomson, who also played rugby for the Army, went on to win another six caps for Scotland, but never again tasted victory. His last match for the national team came against England at Twickenham in 1953.

Away from rugby, Thomson’s other sporting love was cricket, playing for Heriots’ FP and, on occasions, was 12th man for Scotland. He also played golf off a handicap of three at the Duddingston club in Edinburgh.

After graduating from Edinburgh University and completing his national service, Thomson worked in insurance for Standard Life in Edinburgh until he retired in 1990.

A devoted family man, he remained a passionate follower of Heriots’ Rugby Club and watched Scotland’s game against New Zealand from his hospital bed earlier this month.

His funeral will take place at Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh, today (Thursday) at 11am.