The Australian Rugby community is mourning the loss of Wallaby tourist Stuart Scotts who passed away on Thursday.
Scotts was a tough, uncompromising lock/flanker who won selection on one of the great tours - the 1957/58 Fourth Wallabies to the British Isles, France and North America.
Born and raised in Sydney, Scotts was educated at The Scots College before he joined Eastern Suburbs and debuted in first grade aged just 18. His vigorous style quickly gained recognition and he formed a very strong partnership with fellow future Wallaby David Emanuel in the Easts’ engine room. Despite Scotts’ good, consistent form, representative recognition proved elusive with Wallabies Alan Cameron, Nick Shehadie and Tony ’Slaggy’ Miller, as well as Emanuel, providing stiff competition.
Scotts’ big break came in 1957 when, despite not having yet played for New South Wales, he won selection in Bob Davidson’s Fourth Wallabies. There was much furore around the selection of that team with fly half and incumbent captain Dick Tooth, alongside halfback Cyril Burke and flanker Keith Cross who were both long time loyal servants of Australian rugby, each missing from the final 30-man squad.
Unfortunately injury had a strong influence on Scotts’ tour. During the team’s Perth stopover Scotts fractured a small bone in his wrist following an innocuous training drill collision with Davidson. Scotts then had to wait almost two months before he made his Australian XV debut in the tour’s fifth match, the 14-6 victory over Pontypool-Cross Keys at Pontypool. In total Scotts played six uncapped matches, for five wins, however due to further injury he missed sixteen games, across almost three months, during the middle section of the tour.
The Scotts name lived on in Australian rugby in 1980/81 when his nephew Colin was selected for the Steve Tuynman-captained Australian Schools tour of Ireland and the U.K. Ten members of that side - Brad Burke, Matthew Burke, Mark Hartill, Tim Kava, David Knox, Cameron Lillicrap, Michael Lynagh, Brett Papworth, Tuynman and Ian Williams - went on to become Wallabies. Not so Colin who forged his career in a different sport. Scotts was the first Australian to win a football scholarship in the United States of America and then be drafted into the National Football League.