Steve SMITH (Rugby)

Steve SMITH (Rugby) - England - English Caps 1973-83

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 15 February 1980

Click on image to enlarge

      Scrum Half
      Sunday, 22 July 1951
  • England
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Steve SMITH (Rugby) - England - English Caps 1973-83

Career Record: Played 28, Won 13, Drew 4, Lost 11.

Test Points: 8 Tries: 2.



1973 v Ireland (Dublin) L 18-9 (FN)
1973 v France (Twickenham) W 14-6 (FN)
1973 v Scotland (Murrayfield) W 20-13 (FN)

1973 v Australia (Twickenham) W 20-3


1974 v Ireland (Twickenham) L 26-21 (FN)

1974 v France (Paris) D 12-12 (FN)


1975 v Wales (R) (Cardiff) L 20-4 (FN)


1976 v France (Paris) L 30-9 (FN)


1977 v France (R) (Twickenham) L 4-3 (FN)


1979 v New Zealand (Twickenham) L 10-9


1980 v Ireland (Twickenham) W 24-9 (FN)
1980 v France (Paris) W 17-13 (FN)
1980 v Wales (Twickenham) W 9-8 (FN)
1980 v Scotland (Murrayfield) W 30-18 (FN)

1981 v Wales (Cardiff) L 21-19 (FN)
1981 v Scotland (Twickenham) W 23-17 (FN)
1981 v Ireland (Dublin) W 10-6 (FN)
1981 v France (Twickenham) L 16-12 (FN)
1981 v Argentina (Buenos Aries) D 19-19
1981 v Argentina (Buenos Aries) W 12-6



1982 v Australia (Twickenham) W 15-11

1982 v Scotland (Murrayfield) D 9-9 (FN)
1982 v Ireland (Twickenham) L 16-15 (FN)
1982 v France (Paris) W 27-15 (FN)

1982 v Wales (Twickenham) W 17-7 (FN)



1983 v France (Twickenham) L 19-15 (FN)
1983 v Wales (Cardiff) D 13-13 (FN)
1983 v Scotland (Twickenham) L 22-12 (FN)

On 15/3/80 v Scotland at Murrayfield, Steve
scored his 2nd international try in England's
30-18 win which clinched the first English
Grand Slam for 23 years.


Stockport born Steve Smith played his rugby for the Manchester based Sale club and earned 28 caps spread over ten years from 1973 and 1983. One of the most gifted scrum halves of his generation, Steve was immensely effective in creating opportunities close to the try line, but his pass was sometimes criticised for being too slow. Due to an inconsistent selection policy he only played in nine matches from his debut in 1973 to the end of the 1979 season, the scrum-half slot occupied by numerous players including Jan Webster, Mike Lampkowski, Malcolm Young and Peter Kingston. The 21 year old commenced his career in an 18-9 defeat by Ireland in 1973, but the next two matches against France and Scotland were won to earn England a five way share of the Championship. That year Steve was also part of the England side that defeated Australia 20-3 at Twickenham courtesy of tries by Andy Ripley, Tony Neary and Alan Old. After playing in two matches the following year, Smith appeared on just four occasions between 1975 and 1979, twice as a replacement. However, Steve then went on to win 19 consecutive caps, commencing with a 10-9 defeat by New Zealand at Twickenham. A week before that game Smith had been part of the Northern Division that had beaten the All Blacks 21-9 at Otley. Steve and fly-half Alan Old helped the north win valuable territory and both scored tries, while forwards Tony Neary and Roger Uttley destroyed their opponents in the loose. England tried to beat the All Blacks by employing a similar gameplan, but used the wrong personnel, omitting Roger Uttley and preferring to partner Smith with the running fly-half Les Cusworth. The upshot was a scrappy performance by England and the defeat was seen very much as a missed opportunity.

Steve featured in all four matches of the 1980 Grand Slam season and the success England achieved that year was just reward for many of the old guard who had endured the dark days of the 70s. Smith played superbly throughout the campaign and scored his only two international tries against Ireland and Scotland respectively. His try at Murrayfield was one of five scored by England that day and resulted from a typical drive forward by the scrum. He was also called up as a replacement for the British Lions but did not play in any tests. Steve was appointed captain following the premature retirement of Bill Beaumont part way through the 1982 campaign, and his five match tenure saw two wins, two losses and a draw. He commenced his period in charge with a defeat by Ireland at Twickenham, but England recovered to win their remaining matches with France and Wales. In 1983 England began their campaign poorly, losing to France and drawing with Wales, which led to Smith being dropped for the Scotland game and stripped of the captaincy. However, despite being so firmly ostracised, he eventually did play in the match when replacement Nigel Melville was injured. England lost the game 22-12, their first defeat by Scotland at Twickenham since 1971, and it proved to be Smith's last appearance for his country. That year he was also called up as replacement by the Lions for a second consecutive tour, but did not play a test. In retirement, Steve helped establish the world famous Cotton Traders company in partnership with England teammate Fran Cotton, and at one point they supplied half of the world's international teams with kit. Steve also became a television commentator, and his down to earth appraisals were in contrast to the more traditional style of Nigel Starmer-Smith and Bill McClaren. (Jon Collins)