FOUR Borders rugby legends have paid tribute to former Scotland and British and Irish Lions star Tom Smith who sadly passed away earlier this week aged 50.

Loosehead prop Smith earned 61 caps for Scotland between 1997 and 2005 and held the distinction of being selected for six straight Tests for the British & Irish Lions on their tours to South Africa in 1997 and four years later in Australia.

He was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in 2019 but in typical fashion displayed determination and humility in fighting the disease, becoming an ambassador for cancer charity 40tude in the fight to improve early detection of such illnesses.

In November last year, he was inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame, as he and his family - wife Zoe, sons Angus and Teddy and daughter Amelie - were welcomed onto the pitch to deliver the match ball ahead of the Autumn Nations Series game with South Africa to a standing ovation from the capacity BT Murrayfield crowd.

In paying tribute, Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: "Tom was one of the toughest and most skilful players I had the pleasure to call a teammate.

"He succeeded in the most challenging of environments and kept up a high level of play well into his thirties.

"Tom also did a tremendous amount for charitable causes and was a great family man. I am convinced that he will be regarded as one of our best ever players and his loss will be felt by all those who played with him or watched him for club and country over the years.”

Doddie Weir tweeted: “Unbelievably sad news. He was one of the very best, as a person, as a friend and as a player. An unassuming legend, you’d always want him on your side. My thoughts are with his family. Rest easy Tammy Troot.”



Chris Paterson, who also played alongside Smith for Scotland, added: “Tom was simply inspirational. He was someone who had an aura that I didn’t experience with any other player and commanded instant respect. As well as being a wonderful rugby player, he was a lovely, warm generous person and made you feel ten feet tall when he spoke to you.”

Scottish Rugby Chairman John Jeffrey said: "Today, Scottish Rugby has lost not only one of its greatest players but more importantly one of its greatest people. Tom embodied everything we like to espouse about our great game. He didn’t fit the traditional role as a rugby player but showed that all shapes and sizes can shine on the International stage. He went about his business in such an unassuming manner that he caught most opponents off guard. It was this quiet but determined attitude that saw him achieve every accolade in the game.

"Pound for pound, he probably was Scotland’s greatest international. Tom was without a doubt the most humble person I have ever met and all of Scottish Rugby’s thoughts go out to Zoe and the children."