Ex-Scotland boss Jim Telfer joins World Rugby hall of fame, taking Borders' representation to four

Former Scotland and British and Irish Lions head coach Jim Telfer has become Melrose’s third representative in World Rugby’s hall of fame.

By Darin Hutson
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 10:57 am
Then Scotland coach Jim Telfer pictured in 1999 during a press conference in Edinburgh (Photo: Alex Livesey/Allsport via Getty Images)
Then Scotland coach Jim Telfer pictured in 1999 during a press conference in Edinburgh (Photo: Alex Livesey/Allsport via Getty Images)

The 81-year-old, one of six new inductees, joins his old club and Melrose Sevens founder Ned Haig, both inducted in 2008, in picking up that accolade.

Telfer’s addition to that illustrious line-up means that Borderers now account for a third of Scotland’s 12-strong contingent among the 154 individuals and clubs making up the international hall of fame, Hawick rugby commentator Bill McLaren having been added in 2015.

The other new entries are England’s Will Carling, Fiji’s Osea Kolinisau, Kenya’s Humphrey Kayange, New Zealand’s Huriana Manuel-Carpenter and Australia’s Cheryl McAfee.

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A spokesperson for the game’s global governing body said: “The World Rugby hall of fame recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of rugby throughout their careers, demonstrating rugby’s character-building values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect on and off the field.

“The six inductees excel within two themes selected by the hall of fame panel for 2021, rugby sevens and the Olympic Games in a big Olympic year, and the 150th anniversary of the first international match between Scotland and England in March 1871.”

Former back-row forward Telfer, at Melrose from 1957 to 1974, collected 22 caps for Scotland between 1964 and 1970 and made eight test appearances for the British and Irish Lions on two tours in 1966 and 1968 before moving into coaching, taking charge of Scotland from 1980 to 1984, 1993 to 1995 and 1998 to 1999.

He coached the Lions on their 1983 tour of New Zealand, Scotland to a Five Nations grand slam in 1984 and, as assistant to Ian McGeechan, to a second grand slam in 1990. He was also signed up by McGeechan as forwards coach for the Lions’ tour of South Africa in 1997.

Telfer – one of Scottish Rugby’s inaugural hall of fame inductees, along with McLaren and Haig – also won the last-ever Five Nations title with Scotland in 1999.

Interviewed by Southern columnist and Borders Rugby TV supremo Stuart Cameron recently, the former Hawick High School headteacher was in no doubt about the debt both he and the sport internationally owe to his home-town, saying: “I’ve always been a one-club person.

“As a player, I didn’t want to play for anybody else, and as a coach of a club team, I never wanted to coach anybody else because I realised if it hadn’t been for Melrose, I wouldn’t have been where I’ve been in rugby and probably in other areas of life so I’m indebted to Melrose.

“Everything I’ve done in rugby has come through Melrose.”