IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.58 – Andrew Gavin Hastings OBE (Watsonians FC, Cambridge University RFC, London Scottish RFC, Scotland, British & Irish Lions, Barbarians FC) 1962-
– Born: 3 January, 1962 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
– Family: The second of the four sons of Clifford Hastings, a chartered accountant who had also played for the family club Watsonians FC in Edinburgh, and Isobel Hastings, a housewife. His older brother Graeme was also a talented rugby player who was selected for Scottish Schools in 1978 and played a number of times for the Victoria state team after he settled in Australia. His younger brothers Scott, who also played for the Watsonians, British and Irish Lions and Scotland winning 67 caps from 1986-97, and Ewan, who also played for the Watsonians FC. He is married to Diane and they have two children Adam and Holly.
– Education: George Watson’s College. He went to the Paisley College of Technology for four years and graduated with a BSc in Land Economy. After graduation he enrolled on a two-year postgraduate course in Land Economy at Magdalene College at Cambridge University.
– Nickname: Big Gav
– Other sports: soccer (in primary school), cricket (school first XI), squash (school team) and golf (life-time passion). In 1996 he briefly tried his hand at American Football as a kicker with the Scottish Claymores.
He started as a Chartered Surveyor with Ryden and Partners in Edinburgh then joined Richard Ellis (now CBRE) in London and Glasgow. He launched his own company, Hastings International, which was bought by Platinum One. He eventually became Chairman of the newly-launched Edinburgh Rugby professional outfit. He is now running his own consultancy business.
Awards and records
– Winner of the Gallagher Shield with Auckland University team in 1987.
– Member of the 1990 Scottish team which won the Grand Slam.
– Memorial tankards by the SRU on the joint 50th cap celebration of Gavin and Scott Hastings in 1994.
– Awarded an OBE for services to rugby in 1994.
– Inducted into the SRU Hall of Fame in 2010.
– One of 11 legends inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in Dublin on 18 November, 2013.
– Started playing rugby at primary school in 1972 when 10 years old.
– Played for Scotland Schools with future Scotland teammate David Sole.
– He made the school first XV at fly-half, when he was in the fifth form at the age of 16.
– After a short time he told his rugby master Donald Scott that he did not feel comfortable at fly-half and was then moved to full-back, a position he never relinquished.
– He became the captain of the School XV in 1976-77.
– During his time at Paisley College of Technology he played for Watsonians FC and was selected for Edinburgh Under-21 and Scotland Under-21, Scotland B (1983,1984 and 1985).
– His first major game was for Edinburgh against the visiting All Blacks in 1983.
– He played for Scottish Students against the French and England Students with Bill Dickinson as coach in 1984.
– He also played Sevens for the Watsonians FC on various Border tournaments.
– At Cambridge he enjoyed the support of Dr Colin Kolbert, a Magdalene College fellow and a passionate rugby man, Chris Taylor, as well as Dr Tony Craigen and John Dingle and the then coaches Tony Rodgers and Ian Robertson.
– He won two Blues while at Cambridge, the first in 1984 when Cambridge won 32-6 with a talent-loaded team which included Richard Moon, Rob Andrew, Kevin Simms, Fran Clough, Mark Bailey, Andy Martin, John Ellison, Ian Morrison and Sean O’Leary.
– He won his second Blue in 1985, when he captained Cambridge to a narrow 7-6 defeat.
– He played for London Scottish from January to April 1986 and then from 1988 until April 1990. He also played Sevens for the Exiles as well as for the Co-optimists, Bahrain Warblers and Barbarians.
– Made his international debut against France at Murrayfield, alongside brother Scott, in the first of Scotland’s five tests of 1986.
– Played for the Barbarians against the East Midlands in March 1986, the first of his 10 appearances for the club.
– He made his unofficial debut for a British and Irish Lions XV against a Rest of the World XV at the IRB Centenary series in April 1986.
– The 1987 season started with Ireland at Murrayfield, a match Scotland won 16-12. Scotland's first Rugby World Cup match was a 20-20 draw against France in Christchurch in 1987, with Derrick Grant and Ian McGeechan as coaches. Their eighth and last match of 1987 was the RWC quarter-final against New Zealand, which Scotland lost 3-30.
– After the inaugural Rugby World Cup, Hastings stayed in New Zealand and played for Auckland University alongside Grant Fox, David Kirk, John Drake and Sean Fitzpatrick. He sat on the bench for the Auckland provincial side, but did not play provincial rugby. He returned to the UK just in time for the 1988 Five Nations.
– Did not play in the 1989 Five Nations due to a niggling groin injury.
– In 1989 he toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions.
– In 1989 he scored 22 points for a British and Irish Lions XV in a 29-27 win over France in Paris as part of the bicentenary of French Revolution celebrations.
– He played every match in Scotland's Grand Slam in 1990, the third Scottish clean sweep in history. Scotland defeated Ireland 13-10 in Dublin, France 21-0 in Edinburgh, Wales 13-9 in Cardiff and the previously undefeated England 13-7 at Murrayfield on 17 March.
– In 1990, he played for a Home Unions selection (a Lions XV) against the Rest of Europe at Twickenham to help raise funds for Romanian rugby in the aftermath of the revolution.
– Scotland beat Japan, Zimbabwe and Ireland in their RWC 1991 pool to reach the quarter-finals. There they beat Western Samoa 28-6 to secure a semi-final against auld enemy England at Murrayfield. England won 9-6 after Hastings missed a penalty in front of the posts.
– In 1992 he played for a World XV against New Zealand in a three-test series to celebrate the centenary of New Zealand Rugby Union. New Zealand won the series 2-1.
– A member of the Watsonians tour party to Aspen, California, USA, where they played in the Ruggerfest Tournament.
– He captained the Barbarians in the 1992 Hong Kong Sevens.
– Toured New Zealand with the Lions in 1993. The Lions lost the first test 20-18, won the second 20-9 and lost the third 30-13.
– Both Gavin and brother Scott pulled out of the 1994 Scotland tour of Argentina to recharge batteries before RWC 1995.
– Captained the Barbarians against Scotland in 1996, the one and only representative match he played in the professional era.
Career records and highlights
– Gavin and his brother Scott won their first cap together against France in 1986, the year Scotland shared the Five Nations.
– During RWC 1987 he briefly became the world’s top scorer in a match with 27 points (two tries, one penalty and eight conversions) against Romania in the 55-28 win in Dunedin. Two hours later his record was broken by France’s Didier Camberabero who scored 30 points against Zimbabwe.
– He was third highest point scorer at RWC 1987 with 62 points behind Grant Fox (126) and Michael Lynagh (82). He was third highest again at RWC 1991 with 61 points, behind Ralph Keyes (68) and Lynagh (66), and second at RWC 1995 with 104 points, behind only Thierry Lacroix (112).
– At the time of his retirement he held the Scotland record for most points (667) in an international career
– Between 1986 and 1995 he played 36 matches in the Five Nations, all in the starting line-up, scoring 288 points (four tries, 20 conversions and 77 penalties).
– He played most matches (11) against France, for a 50 per cent record (five wins, five defeats and one draw).
– He held the record for most points (56) scored for Scotland in a Five Nations season (1995).
– He scored the most points (44) for Scotland in an international, against Ivory Coast at RWC 1995.
– He played six tests on two Lions tours (1989 and 1993), winning three and losing three, scoring a total of scored 66 points (one try, one conversion and 20 penalties).
– He played 16 Lions matches across two tours in 1989 and 1993, scoring a total of 167 points
– Top scorer on the 1989 Lions tour with 66 points in seven matches (two tries, one drop goal, 17 penalties and two conversions).
– Top scorer on the 1993 Lions tour with 101 points in nine matches (one try, 24 penalties and 12 conversions).
– He played in three unofficial Lions matches, in 1986 against the Rest of the World (IRB Centenary), against France (Bicentenary of French Revolution) in 1989 and Lions (Home Unions) v Rest of Europe (Help Romania) in April 1990.
– Scotland won the 1990 Five Nations Grand Slam.
– He played for a World XV in all three tests against New Zealand for the Centenary of NZRU (started in the first and third matches of the series).
– His last game was against New Zealand at RWC 1995, the 13th RWC match of his career. He won seven, lost five and drew one of those matches.
– At the time of his retirement from the game he had scored a RWC record 227 points in 13 matches (nine tries, 39 conversions and 36 penalties). The record was subsequently broken by Jonny Wilkinson in 2007.
– He and his brother Scott won their 50th caps together against France in 1994.
– He is one of the four players - the others are Matt Burke, Gonzalo Quesada and Thierry Lacroix - to have scored eight penalties in a RWC match.
– At the time of his induction he was 12th in the list of world’s top scorers, right behind his fellow Scot Chris Paterson (809) and ahead of Matt Giteau of Australia (684).
– His 733 points are made up of 667 points for Scotland and 66 for the Lions (18 tries, 87 conversions and 160 penalties).
– He played for the Barbarians nine times between 1986-1996, scoring a total of 81 points and made an appearance in the Hong Kong Sevens in 1992. He captained the club in five of his nine appearances.
What he said
“I think it would be fair to describe us as a sporty family. My father played rugby and is still a great golfer but I would say it’s my mother we get our tenacity from. She played a lot of hockey and golf. She’s a determined and strong woman and I think her influence rubbed off on us a lot.”
“Strangely, not many of us progressed from that era and only David Sole and myself advanced from our contemporaries all the way through from the Scottish schoolboys team to the full national side. It is amazing when you see players who had so much talent at school suddenly lose their ambition when they leave and discover beer, women and work. I guess they have found different priorities in their lives, but I thought many of them wasted their natural resources. I can never understand why people do not make the most of their innate talent and work hard to fully develop their potential. After all, life is not a dress rehearsal, it is for real.”
“Cambridge was important to me because it helped carry me forward into the next stage of my life. I think I was lucky to go there as a graduate and, being slightly older, I think I got far more out of Cambridge than most people.”
“It is quite extraordinary that although Scott and I won our first caps together in 1986 and also achieved the amazing statistic of winning our 50th caps together against France at the end of the 1994 season, we had not played much rugby together prior to that, and to this day have never played against each other.”
“The day we both played our first cap for Scotland was truly wonderful, not just because I shared it with Scott, but because I managed to do my job pretty well that day which was a source of great satisfaction. I was very happy for all my brothers and my Mum and Dad, they must have been very proud. My parents travelled far and wide to watch us both play - four years in succession to Australia and New Zealand. Not only did Scott and I play our first cap together against France but remarkably eight years later we played against France at Murrayfield again and won our 50th caps together. When you think of missed games due to injury that we each had at different times, the chances of that happening are very slim.”
“The old saying goes that behind every good man there is a great woman and this is certainly true of my wife, Diane, who has been my best friend ever since I met and dated her.”
“Many players believe that they have climbed the mountain as soon as they have been picked for their country. It was never my intention to relax and be comfortable with that, for I always felt it was only the start, the bottom rung of the ladder. I remember playing in one match against the Rest of the World, which quickly made me realise that I was not up there with the best of them. I therefore saw Scotland as the beginning and the training ground for bigger and better things. I was perhaps lucky that this presence of mind, discipline, dedication and ambition to push myself forward was part of my nature.”
“I learned above all, about New Zealand compulsion and insistence on concentrating for every second. I discovered that practice makes perfect and that you will only get from the game situation what you have done on the training field. If you are mucking around in practice, then you have no right to expect to perform at a high level in the match situation.”
What they said
Bill Dickinson (coach Scottish Students and Scotland): “Make sure you write down his name. He will play for Scotland in the very near future.” – in 1984 before the Scottish Students v French Students match.
Bill McLaren (TV commentator and writer): “Hastings had the ideal built for a modern full-back and the high altitude bombing that proved such a large part of tactical planning. He perfected the timed jump to gather up-an-under balls and had the physique and the resolution often to stay on his feet long enough for colleagues to provide cover. He was also a master of timing, his attack intrusions at such pace as frequently to bump off defenders.”
Sir Ian McGeechan (coach Scotland and British and Irish Lions): “He is a big man in every sense of the word and, just as Kipling wrote, has met squarely with those two impostors, triumph and disaster. For me Gavin epitomises the best of International players; he is passionately Scottish but he is also sincerely British, and he has always shown a genuine commitment and endeavour to both roles.”
Clem Thomas (former Wales captain and Observer correspondent): “Gavin Hastings is not only one of the great rugby footballers of his era, but he is a person who has brought enormous dignity to the game itself due to his remarkable aura of obvious decency and the capacity to inspire, which captivates so many people, whether they know him personally or not.”
Isobel Hastings (Gavin’s mother) – “As brothers Gavin and Scott were in the middle, so they were left to fend for themselves. Gavin was always the builder and his elder brother Graeme was the destroyer. If Gavin would build something, Graeme would knock it down, but Gavin would keep on building and he was always more academic than his brothers. There was endless rivalry between the two elder brothers and indeed, between Gavin and Scott, who were always quarrelling over one thing or another.”
Jim Telfer (coach Scotland and British and Irish Lions): “Gavin Hastings is a really charming bloke, with no side to him at all. One moment he is talking to a rugby man and the next minute he is in conversation with somebody who knows nothing about the game. He has represented Scottish rugby so well wherever he goes, and he is a delightful and articulate man. He has that innate ability of the great player to focus quickly on the job in hand and to be mentally hard. He has been the rock behind the Scottish pack and his forwards knew that, when the ball went behind them, he was a tower of strength and a total redoubt. His presence on the field is immense and he has a terrific effect on the other players. If you had 15 Gavin Hastings you could beat the world.”
Sir Ian McGeechan (coach Scotland and British and Irish Lions): “He has the ability to put people at ease and make them feel important; in every way he is a true rugby ambassador. I wonder how many youngsters have set their sights on international rugby, not by exploits, but because Gavin let them get close to International rugby through him and his few words?”
Scott Hastings (Scotland and the Lions): “My main memory of Gavin was of him being very conscientious. He was hard working at school and always very focussed- if he had a project to do he’d focus on it 100 per cent until it was finished. If he took up a new sport he’d dedicate himself to it until he got good. He was always trying to lower his golf handicap and trying to improve his kicking. I think it was himself he was in competition with rather than anyone else and at the end of the day those qualities shone through. He always tried to lead by example.”
*Profile correct at time of induction