JACK KYLE: 1926..2014
Times Past Irish International & British Lions & Queen's University
Hall Of Fame Citation! "Jack Kyle Of Belfast Set Standards For Future Generations Of Irish Rugby Players"
In Irish rugby history the name Jack Kyle is synomonous with the oval ball and little wonder his name will always be recalled when speaking about the giants of Irish rugby.
Born 10th February 1926 and died 27th November 2014, Jack Kyle was an Irish rugby player who played for Ireland, British Lions and the Barbarians during the 1940s and 1950s. He is also acclaimed for leading Ireland to a Grand Slam in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.
The awards garned by the Belfast legend are many and in 1950 he was declared one of the six players of the year by the New Zealand Rugby Almanac. Kyle is also a member of the Hall Of Fame Of The International Rugby Union.
In 2002 he was named the 'Greatest Ever Irish Rugby Player' by the Irish Rugby Football Union and that is a great accolade, but of course since 2002 Ireland has produced a whole new generation of rugby legends. Jack was educated at Belfast Royal Academy and studied medicine at Queen's University, Belfast and graduated in 1951. In 1991 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University and in 2007 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Journal of Medical Science and the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. He was awarded an OBE in 1959.
His first appearance in an Irish rugby jersey came during the 2nd World War in a friendly against a British Army fifteen and no caps were awarded. He made his official debut for Ireland on 25th January 1947 against France in the 1947 Five Nations Championship in an 8 - 12 defeat at Dublin. Between 1947and 1958, he made 46 full appearances and scored 24 points, including 7 tries.
The highlight of Kyle’s international career came during the 1948 Five Nations Championship when, together with Karl Mullen and Mick O'Flanagan, he helped Ireland win a Grand Slam. Kyle played in all four games and he is often credited with masterminding Ireland's success. In 1949 Jack Kyle also assisted Ireland to win the Triple Crown, and in 1951, Ireland won the title again, with the Belfast player a key component. Kyle made his last appearance for Ireland against Scotland on the 1st March, 1958.
British and Irish Lions and Barbarians
In 1950, Jack Kyle also played for the British Lions on their tour to New Zealand and Australia. Jack played in 20 of the 29 games, including all six Tests. Among his tour highlights was a display that came in the first Test, a 9 – 9 draw with New Zealand. Of the Lions' nine points, Kyle scored a try, created another for Ken Jones, and won a penalty that was converted by John Robins. During the tour, he also scored a try in the 24 – 3 defeat of Australia.
Kyle made eight appearances for the Barbarians F.C. between 1948 and 1954, scoring three points in total.
Jack Kyle died on 27 November 2014, age eighty eight.
Rugby union career
Fly Half with Queen's University and Ireland
1946–1958 Ireland 46 caps 24 points
1950 British Lions 6 caps 6 points
1948 – 1954 Barbarians 8 caps 3 points
Compiled by Derry JF Doody