World Rugby Hall of Fame - Induction No.96 - Basil Maclear (Bedford, Blackheath, Monkstown, Cork County, Munster, Ireland) 1881-1915
One of 25 legends inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at Wembley Stadium, London, on 20 September, 2015.
Born: 7 April, 1881
Died: 26 May, 1915
Born in Portsmouth as one of five sons of a military doctor, the Bedford Grammar School pupil was qualified to play for both England and Ireland.
An outstanding multifarious athlete he made an immediate impact when he started playing rugby. He was in the School XV between 1895 and 1899, the last three seasons as captain. At 15 he made his debut for Blackheath to wide acclaim and represented Sandhurst at rugby, cricket, athletics and shooting, winning the Sword of Honour in 1900.
He served with his regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, in the Boer War (1900-02) and was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Queen’s Medal with five clasps. He finished the war as a Captain and returned to the UK to resume his rugby career.
After being turned down by the English selectors, he was picked by Ireland, extracting sweet revenge by scoring a try and creating two others in the 17-3 defeat of England in his maiden international appearance at Mardyke in Cork in 1905.
Tall and powerful he began his playing career as a forward at school, but carried on as both a centre and wing three-quarters in his senior years with Sandhurst Academy, Cork County, Monkstown, Blackheath, Bedford, Munster and Ireland.
He played a record four times against the 1905 All Blacks – for Blackheath, Bedford, Munster, whom he captained, and for Ireland, the fourth test of his brief 11-cap career. In 1906 he scored an 80-metre try against South Africa, regarded as one of the greatest efforts in the history of Irish rugby - and perhaps international rugby - in a match Ireland lost 15-12.
A persistent knee injury cut short his international career, though he went only playing hockey. His last international match was against Wales in 1907 and satisfyingly during his career for Ireland they never lost to England.
A professional soldier with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Captain Maclear was mentioned in dispatches and was killed in action in May 1915 during the second battle of Ypres. His body was never recovered.