William Cross (rugby union)
|Birth name||William Cross|
|Date of birth||circa 1851|
|Place of birth||Bridgend, Wales|
|Date of death||16 October 1890|
|Place of death||Bournemouth, England|
|Notable relative(s)||Malcolm Cross, brother|
|Rugby union career|
William Cross (circa 1851 - 16 October 1890) was a Scottish rugby internationalist. He is notable for scoring the first conversion in international rugby in 1871 in the match between Scotland and England, after Angus Buchanan scored a pushover try, and he also Scotland's second ever try later in the match.
- "after a maul, just outside the English goal-line the umpires ordered the ball to be put down in the scrummage five yards outside the line. It was taken was out accordingly, but, instead of putting it down, the Scottish forwards drove the entire scrummage into goal, and then grounded the ball and claimed a try. This, though illegal according to English laws, was allowed by the umpires and the goal was kicked by Cross."
Cross rounded off the game with a second try, ninety seconds before the final whistle, when with their forwards running riot, J.W. Arthur knocked on from a line-out and the ball looped over the English defenders, with the quick thinking Cross picking it up for Scotland's second try.
Cross played for Glasgow Academicals, and Merchistonians before that, and was one of the first international half-backs, along with J.W. Arthur and their English counterparts. He played one more international in 1872. His brother Malcolm Cross gained nine caps.
After his international playing career was over, Cross took up a role within the Scottish Rugby Union, and by 1877 became Scotland's second international rugby referee when he officiated an early encounter between Scotland and England. This was his only international game as a referee, but he continued promoting Scottish rugby, becoming President of the Scottish Rugby Union for the 1882-83 season.