A true blue Lion

Jack Waters
Jack Waters

A SELKIRK retailer is appealing for assistance from the Borders public to help them pay tribute to one of the town’s most celebrated rugby players.

Son of John Waters – founder of J. A. Waters Butchers in the town’s High Street – Jack Waters earned 16 caps for Scotland between 1933 and 1937 and toured twice with the British Lions in 1936 (Argentina) and 1938 (South Africa).

To coincide with the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia this summer, Waters the Butchers is looking to put a display in the window of their premises across the road from their shop in memory of Jack and the 75th anniversary of his second and final Lions tour, where he scored twice against Rhodesia and once against Natal.

Jack’s selection for the Lions was notable since there was no Four Nations committee in those days and sides were picked by the RFU in Twickenham.

Though assistance was given by the SRU and the Welsh and Irish unions, it’s reasonable to assume that it was fairly challenging for a Scot to gain selection, and more difficult still for a butcher from a small club in the Borders.

Jack, who played at No8, was the only Borderer aboard on the 1938 tour.

It was also the last time the Lions toured wearing a blue jersey. In 1930 the Lions played New Zealand. As it is custom for the home team to change their strips it was up to the All Blacks to change. After much resistance, they did, and played in white for the first time.

A return to New Zealand in 1950 was accompanied by a desire to avoid the controversy of 1930 and so red replaced blue for the first time.

Readers are asked to hand in any memorabilia or artefacts they have of the tour, or of Jack, to Waters the Butchers, 65 High Street, Selkirk, or phone 01750 20242.