Dr Jack Kyle has become the first Irishman to be inducted into the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame. The Belfast-born legend was announced as one of five 2008 inductees at a ceremony in London on Sunday evening.
The latest Hall of Fame members, announced at the IRB Awards ceremony in London, are the 1888 Natives Team of New Zealand and their captain Joe Warbrick, Melrose Club and Ned Haig, Ireland and Lions legend Dr Jack Kyle, Argentina great Hugo Porta and France’s record-breaker Philippe Sella.
Kyle was one of three Irish nominees in the 20th century category, alongside Mike Gibson and Willie John McBride, but the 1948 Grand Slam winner was the sole Irish survivor after the public vote and the final stage of voting by the IRB Hall of Fame judging panel.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, the convenor of the judging panel, said: “True to the spirit of the game and rugby’s unique values, the 2008 inductees are individuals, clubs or teams who have left an indelible mark on the world game, its development and history.
“All the nominees put forward by the public vote were all worthy of high praise for their achievements and impact on the game, truly highlighting the rich history that rugby has. It took some time to select the five nominees.”
Dr John Wilson ‘Jackie’ Kyle (Queen’s University & Ireland) has previously received the honour of being voted Ireland’s greatest ever player.
Born on January 10, 1926 in Belfast, he played at out-half for Ireland 46 times between 1947 and 1958. He masterminded the one and only Grand Slam in Irish rugby history in 1948.
There are a number of Australians and New Zealanders who might also regard him amongst one of the finest ever to pull on the famous red jersey of the British and Irish Lions, such was his complete footballing ability.
Kyle starred on the 1950 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia, playing in six Tests. He was voted one of the six best players of the year by New Zealand media.
The 2008 induction ceremony was the third IRB Hall of Fame induction.
The inaugural induction in 2006 saw William Webb Ellis and Rugby School inducted, while in 2007 there were five inductees with Pierre de Coubertin, Dr Danie Craven, Sir Wilson Whineray, Gareth Edwards and John Eales all admitted into the IRB Hall of Fame.