John Scott (rugby union)

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John Scott
Full name John Philip Scott
Date of birth 28 September 1954
Place of birth Exeter
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position No. 8
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Cardiff RFC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1978–1984
1980
 England
World XV
34 Pts:4;Tries:1

John Scott (born 28 September 1954) is a former rugby union international who represented England from 1978 to 1984.[1][1]

Early life[edit]

John Scott was born on 28 September 1954 in Exeter.[1]

Rugby career[edit]

A back row forward, he played most of his club rugby for Cardiff RFC. Winning 34 England caps between 1978 and 1984, he formed a strong partnership with No. 9 Steve Smith. He also roomed with Smith while on international duty. He played in all four games in England's 1980 Grand Slam winning team. Winning three Welsh cups in a row as captain, Scott is considered one of Cardiff's most successful captains. He also played for a World XV on 9 August 1980 against Argentina in Buenos Aires, losing 36–22.[2]

Exeter born John Scott was in the same mould as England team-mate Roger Uttley in that he could play in either the second or back rows. He played three times at lock forward whilst earning thirty-one caps in his favoured position of Number Eight. He was also one of a number of Englishmen of his era to play for a Welsh club along with the likes of Tony Swift and Maurice Colclough. Colclough and Swift both played for Swansea, whilst Scott captained Cardiff in four successive seasons and helped them win five out of seven Welsh Cup Finals between 1981 and 1987.

His international debut came in 1978 at the age of 23 in a defeat by France, though England did achieve respectability that year by winning two of their four matches. He played in all four of matches of the 1979 season, one as a replacement, and England ended with a record of one win, one draw and two losses. However, with the exception of the last quarter of an hour against Wales where they conceded four tries, England performed well, particularly up front.

In addition to his efforts in the Five Nations, Scott also featured in the 10–9 loss to the All Blacks at the end of the year. Though the defeat was only by one point, it was seen as a terrible failure given that everything appeared to be in England's favour going into the game. Indeed, just a week before, the Northern Division had thrashed the Blacks 21–9 thanks to the efforts of Roger Uttley, Tony Neary and Bill Beaumont.

Scott in particular received heavy criticism for his performance at Twickenham, and former All Black scrum-half Chris Laidlaw wrote in the Telegraph that Scott was: "playing his own private game, detached from the real contest, like some kind of mercenary soldier accompanying the main body of the troops."

Despite the criticism levelled at him, Scott remained in his number eight berth for the 1980 Five Nations campaign and got his country off to a fine start by scoring a pushover try in their opening 24–9 victory over Ireland, in addition to scores by Steve Smith and Mike Slemen.

England followed it up with victory over France before taking on the Welsh at Twickenham against a backdrop of hype and bad feeling. England won 9–8 in a game notable for the sending off of Welsh flanker Paul Ringer and Scott's aggression towards his Cardiff team-mate Terry Holmes.

England then sealed the Grand Slam with victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, a win engineered by the creativity of Clive Woodward and the finishing of John Carleton.

However, the two seasons that followed saw England flatter to deceive, and by 1983 the Grand Slam was a dim and distant memory. Halfway through the season, captain Steve Smith was axed to be replaced as skipper by Scott, but the change didn't make much difference, and both remaining matches were lost. However, Scott did have the consolation of making up for his 1979 disappointment by being part of the side that beat the All Blacks 15–9 at Twickenham.

In 1984 England were approaching rock bottom and could only manage a solitary victory over Ireland. Then, following captain Peter Wheeler's decision not to tour South Africa, Scott was reinstated as skipper when he had to play as lock. Both tests against the Springboks were lost by large margins, and meant that Scott had failed to win any of his four matches in charge. That tour saw Scott receive heavy criticism from the press and effectively ended his international career, when asked after the second test what he thought was good about the England performance he replied "I thought we came onto the pitch well".

International record[edit]

Debut: Saturday 21/1/78 –v- France (Paris) lost 15–6 (FN) (Aged: 23) Final appearance: 9/6/1984 –v- South Africa (Johannesburg) lost 35–9 Career Record: P34, W13, D3, L18. Tries: 1 Test Points: 4 English Caps 1978–84

  • 1978 France (Paris) L 15 – 6
  • 1978 Wales (Twickenham) L 9 – 6
  • 1978 Scotland (Murrayfield) W 15 – 0
  • 1978 Ireland (Twickenham) W 15 – 9
  • 1978 New Zealand (Twickenham) L 16 – 6
  • 1979 Scotland (R) (Twickenham) D 7 – 7
  • 1979 Ireland (Dublin) L 12 – 7
  • 1979 France (Twickenham) W 7 – 6
  • 1979 Wales (Cardiff) L 27 – 3
  • 1979 New Zealand (Twickenham) L 10 – 9
  • 1980 Ireland (Twickenham) W 24 – 9
  • 1980 France (Paris) W 17 – 13
  • 1980 Wales (Twickenham) W 9 – 8
  • 1980 Scotland (Murrayfield) W 30 – 18
  • 1981 Wales (Cardiff) L 21 – 19
  • 1981 Scotland (Twickenham) W 23 – 17
  • 1981 Ireland (Dublin) W 10 – 6
  • 1981 France (Twickenham) L 16 – 12
  • 1981 Argentina (Buenos Aries) D 19 – 19
  • 1981 Argentina (Buenos Aries) W 12 – 6
  • 1982 Ireland (Twickenham) L 16 – 15
  • 1982 France (Paris) W 27 – 15
  • 1982 Wales (Twickenham) W 17 – 7
  • 1983 France (Twickenham) L 19 – 15
  • 1983 Wales (Cardiff) D 13 – 13
  • 1983 Scotland (Twickenham) L 22 – 12
  • 1983 Ireland (Dublin) L 25 – 15
  • 1983 New Zealand (Twickenham) W 15 – 9
  • 1984 Scotland (Murrayfield) L 18 – 6
  • 1984 Ireland (Twickenham) W 12 – 9
  • 1984 France (Paris) L 32 – 18
  • 1984 Wales (Twickenham) L 24 – 15
  • 1984 South Africa (Port Elizabeth) L 33 – 15
  • 1984 South Africa (Johannesburg) L 35 – 9

(R) = Replacement

Family and later life[edit]

Married to Oonagh, they have two children, Liam 21, and Gemma 20. Liam studies French and Russian literature at Cardiff University and has a weekend job flower arranging for weddings. While Gemma currently at Manchester Metropolitan University. Scott is currently director of an embroidery company in Bessemer Road.

References[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Steve Smith
Peter Wheeler
English National Rugby Union Captain
Mar 1983
Jun 1984
Succeeded by
Peter Wheeler
Nigel Melville