Listed as one of the five worst international selections ever, and described in a book about Scottish rugby as ‘a full back slower than your average prop’, Ian Smith cheerfully won eight caps for Scotland in a career that saw him score every point for his team on his debut in an historic victory over South Africa (and in so doing became the first Scottish full back to score a Test try) and defeated a star-studded England team to lift the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield in the 1970 Five Nations.
One of eight international full backs to have come out of Heriot’s FP, Smith also played for a dashing, innovative Edinburgh University side that revolutionised attacking back play. But this book is so much more than a story of a fleeting Test career. It is a window to another time, when a player could appear, as Smith did, for his club’s third XV and two weeks later make his international debut for his country. And then, eight Tests later, return to his club where he was only considered good enough to play for the second XV.