Ken Scotland

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Ken Scotland
Full name Kenneth James Forbes Scotland
Date of birth (1936-08-29) 29 August 1936 (age 80)
Place of birth Warriston, Edinburgh, Scotland
University Cambridge University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fullback
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Cambridge University RFC
Aberdeenshire RFC
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
North and Midlands
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
correct as of 26 August 2009.

Kenneth "Ken" James Forbes Scotland (born 29 August 1936) is a Scottish former rugby union player. He played for Scotland a number of times between 1957 and 1965, and for the British Lions on their 1959 tour of New Zealand; he was a full-back.[1] He also played for the Scottish national cricket team.[2]

Scotland was originally picked for the match against France, while doing his National Service in the Army, and scored the only points in the match, a drop goal and a penalty.[3]

Richard Bath writes of him that:

"Like Gavin Hastings against France nearly three decades later, Ken Scotland started his international career on a high note, scoring all six points in his country's win over France. Yet although Scotland made a huge impact when he won his first cap aged 19, it could all have been so different. Until circumstances caused his selection at full-back at for the Scottish Trial earlier that year, Scotland had always played fly-half. That experience of playing fly-half added another dimension to his game, and he soon emerged as the first true attacking full-back in an age where a safety-first attitude and a large boot were the most important attributes for any No. 15... Novel at the time, it is now the staple diet of attacking full-backs the world over."[1]

However, after his first international season he ran into trouble, when he had a trial for Cambridge University, and it is claimed he lost his form all that autumn, and was only third choice for the University.[4] An injury to Robin Chisholm brought him back onto the Scotland team, and played for another five seasons without discussion.[4] Gordon Waddell was one of his more famous team mates at Cambridge.[1]

Scotland's goal kicking style was highly influential:

"As a goal kicker he popularized the instep style, then deplored by most coaches, now adopted by most kickers... His record as a goal-kicker hardly compares with Andy Irvine, but then the modern ball flies further and truer."[5]

But on the other hand, Scotland missed three penalty kicks against England during 1962 Calcutta Cup.[6]

After moving to Aberdeen, Ken Scotland played for Aberdeenshire, and for the Scottish North and Midlands district team.[6]


Tom Kiernan was being interviewed on the occasion of his fiftieth cap for Ireland, and was asked who he thought was the greatest rugby player of his time, and replied,:"Ken Scotland. It was a privilege to be on the same field as him."[3] Arthur Smith called him "the best passer of a ball I played with."[4]

Allan Massie puts him in a class with Jackie Kyle, Mike Gibson and Barry John,[3] and says:

"His sense of position was very fine, sometimes uncanny; it was very rare to see him caught out, and he played in the days when full-backs received even more bombardment than they do now... He kicked beautifully with either foot. His tackling, though not destructive in the Bruce Hay manner, for he was slim and light of build, was very safe. I recall vividly one try-saving tackle in 1961 on the Welsh winger Dewi Bebb; it could have been used to illustrate a textbook and carried Bebb well into touch.

"He was first full-back fully to exploit the attacking possibilities of the game. He wasn't of course the first to refuse to be restricted to a fielding, tackling and kicking role, but not even the great New Zealander Bob Scott had brought the same spirit of intelligent adventure to the position."[7]


  1. ^ a b c Bath, p157
  2. ^ Bath, p105
  3. ^ a b c Massie, p137
  4. ^ a b c Massie, p138
  5. ^ Massie, p139-40
  6. ^ a b Massie, p140
  7. ^ Massie, pp137-8

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