Andy Irvine was such an impressive rugby player he had a stadium named after him – if only briefly.
His greatest moment came during a Scotland v France match at Murrayfield in 1980. France were leading 14-4 with just over 10 minutes left, but the Edinburgh-born full-back scored two tries, two penalties and a conversion from the touchline to turn the game on its head and earn the Scots a 24-14 win. French newspaper L’Equiperenamed the stadium ‘Irvinefield’ in honour of the match winner.
That name may not have stuck, but Andy’s name remains among the greats of Scottish rugby. Between 1972 and 1982, he earned 51 caps – 15 of them as captain – and scored 261 points, all while working as a chartered surveyor and playing club rugby for Heriot’s.
Andy earned British & Irish Lions caps on the 1974 tour of South Africa, where he scored 156 points over 15 games. He joined the Lions again in New Zealand in 1977, then played with the Barbarians in their 1976 Easter tour. He toured South Africa again with the Lions in 1980.
Irvine was awarded the MBE in 1979. After hanging up his boots, he was president of the Scottish Rugby Football Union from 2005 to 2007, and in August 2010 was appointed as the first independent chairman of Celtic Rugby.
He returned to the Lions fold in 2013 as tour manager of the trip to Australia. It was the first successful tour since 1997, with the combined side winning the Test series 2-1.
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