Former Scotland and Lions prop Tom Smith dies aged 50

Tom Smith made 61 appearances for Scotland and six for the Lions.
Tom Smith made 61 appearances for Scotland and six for the Lions.

The Scottish Rugby star was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer in November 2019

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Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions prop Tom Smith has died aged 50.

Smith, who was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer in November 2019, also played for Glasgow Warriors, Caledonia Reds and Northampton.

Scottish Rugby tweeted: “Scotland and Lions prop Tom Smith sadly passed away earlier today aged 50.

“A hugely respected player, Tom will be greatly missed by everyone associated with rugby in Scotland and throughout the game. All our thoughts are with Tom’s family and friends at this time.”

Scotland's Prop Tom Smith (centre) pushes through Argentina's defence, during their rugby union International friendly match at Murrayfield stadium, Edinburgh. The game was the first of two in the run-up to the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Scotland's Prop Tom Smith (centre) pushes through Argentina's defence, during their rugby union International friendly match at Murrayfield stadium, Edinburgh. The game was the first of two in the run-up to the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Smith made 61 appearances for Scotland and six for the Lions, who said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Smith.

“Tom made an incredible impact for the Lions, touring in 1997 as well as 2001 and was one of the great props to play the game. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time. RIP Tom.”

Named in Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions squad to face South Africa in 1997, despite having played just three times for the Scots, he would go on to play in all three Tests as the tourists won a thrilling series 2-1.

He retained his place four years later in Australia, again starting all three Test clashes in a series that ended 3-0 to the Wallabies.

Two years later he was celebrating again, as Jim Telfer’s Scotland side won the final edition of the Five Nations.

The honour of captaining Scotland was first bestowed during the 2001 autumn Tests while the following year his talents were recognised as he was named among a World XV.

Smith started his professional club career with Caledonian Reds in 1996 before racking up stints at Glasgow Caledonians and Brive.

He brought the curtain down on his playing career in 2009 after an eight-year spell at Northampton, aged 37.

Smith returned north of the border soon after as he moved into coaching with Edinburgh, then enjoying three years in France from 2012 as he was recruited to look after Lyon’s forwards.

A Northampton statement read: “Deeply sad news this evening as we hear that Tom Smith has passed away.

“The British & Irish Lion was one of the most gifted props ever to pull on the BG&G jersey, and an incredible character to boot.

“Our thoughts are with Tom’s loved ones at this time.”