Tom Smith (rugby union player born 1971) : biography
Tom Smith (born 31 October 1971) is a rugby union coach and former player born in London, England who represented Scotland and the Lions.
Smith start out at Dundee High School FP and also played for Watsonians prior to the formation of the Scottish Pro teams where upon he joined Glasgow Caledonians. His time here was short and only lasted one season before he was taken on at French club CA Brive. A further two seasons and Smith returned to the UK in 2001 to join Northampton Saints in the English premiership making his Northampton debut on September 1, 2001. Over the subsequent eight seasons his appetite for the action never diminished and neither did his popularity with the Saints’ fans. His time at Franklin’s Gardens included two Powergen Cup finals, a Heineken Cup semi-final and three Heineken Cup quarter finals. He remained at Northampton until his retirement from playing in 2009.
Education and background
He was educated at Emanuel School in London and Rannoch School in Scotland.
Smith earned his first Scotland cap in 1997 in the Calcutta Cup match versus England at Twickenham. Despite only having a 3 caps to his name at the time he was included by coach Ian McGeechan in the squad for the 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. Surprising many Smith was selected to start all 3 test matches alongside Paul Wallace and Keith Wood over the other touring props Jason Leonard and Graham Rowntree. His strong scrummaging and good hands alongside many other great team performances ensured that the Lions won over their much more highly fancied hosts and won the series 2-1.
He was also selected in the 2001 Lions tour of Australia and played all 3 test matches of that series also to become the only Scot to play the six consecutive Lions tests matches of 1997 and 2001 when he played against Australia.
For the next 8 years Smith was to be a first choice starter for Scotland and talismanic figure for the team winning the Five Nations in 1999 and captaining the side throughout the 2001 Autumn Internationals. Smith was also Scotland’s Player of the Season in 2000/2001. After an international career that included two World Cups and six consecutive Lions tests, Smith’s final match in the blue jersey came, appropriately enough, against England in the 2005 Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Smith was a fan favourite with the Murrayfield faithful with many considering him the greatest loose head prop the team had ever had alongside Grand Slam winning captain David Sole.
Having retired from playing in 2009 he took on the roll of forwards coach at Edinburgh under Rob Moffat.
In May 2012 it was announced that he had been appointed as Forwards Coach with French club Lyon.