George Philip Stewart Macpherson captained the Scotland rugby team to their first Grand Slam, beating all four international opponents in the 1925 Five Nations.
Known as ‘Phil’, the Newtonmore youngster played with Edinburgh Academical FC and Oxford University RFC before being selected for Scotland. He played in all four matches of the 1922 Five Nations, but his first international try came two years later when he touched down against Wales in 1924.
The historic Grand Slam came in Phil’s first year as Scotland captain. He played in three of the four matches — against France and Wales and in the final against England. Having won all their previous matches, the team’s hopes were high as they prepared for the final match at the newly-completed Murrayfield in front of 70,000 spectators.
England took an early lead, and the Scots were trailing 11-5 when a multi-player try and a conversion took the scores to 11-10. A drop goal took Scotland into the lead, which they held until the final whistle, winning 14-11.
After studying for a year in the United States, Phil returned to international rugby in 1927, when Scotland shared the Five Nations trophy with Ireland. But they won the championship outright again in 1929 — the same year when, in testament to his extraordinary sporting abilities, he also became the Scottish long jump champion.
He continued to play with the team until 1932, winning a total of 26 caps, 11 as captain, by the end of his career, and scoring 12 points. He died in 1981 aged 77.
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