Robert Gemmill.

Rugby internationalist and businessman.

Born: February 20, 1930;

Died: December 25, 2014.

Bob Gemmill, who has died aged 84, was one of those Scotland rugby internationalists who suffered at the hands of the SRU's selectors' panic attacks during the dreadful 17-match winless run of the early 1950s.

He arrived at Glasgow High School, then still in Elmbank Street, from Eastwood School, on a Mowat Scholarship, aged 14. He made steady and unspectacular progress from third to first XV, where he formed a formidable and long-lasting partnership with Bill Black.

Academically, he was dux of High School in 1947. That year, he placed fifth in Glasgow University's bursary competition, going up to Gilmorehill to read economics, while continuing to play his club rugby with High School FPs.

Also in 1947, he attended the 6th World Scouts International Jamboree, "the Jamboree of Peace", in Moisson, France. He kept a diary on this trip and, some 50 years later he read it to the Scouts attached to Sherbrooke St Gilbert's Church, who were in their turn going to their International Jamboree, and, on their return, he was happy to compare notes with the youngsters.

He was exceptionally fit, and could be seen out pounding the pavements at a time when most rugby training was done in the bar, and in the 1947-48 Scotland Trial, the 17-year-old Gemmill and Black, two years his senior, were both called up. Black went on to win the first of his four caps, but Gemmill was not capped - yet.

For Gemmill that first cap had to wait a couple of years, before, as a 19-year-old, he was one of the seven debutants blooded against France, at Murrayfield, in the opening game of the 1950 Five Nations.

Gemmill and his boilerhouse partner, Douglas Muir of Heriot's, who also died at the end of last year, were upgraded from the Rest to the Scotland XV at half-time in the 1950 International Trial at Murrayfield; Scotland had a better second-half and the young locks were consequently handed their debut caps one week later.

Scotland beat France 8-5 and the new locks were retained for the remainder of the season, which saw losses in Swansea and Dublin, before a narrow Calcutta Cup win over the Auld Enemy at Murrayfield. He also was invited to join the great invitation side, the Barbarians that season.

Gemmill retained his place for the opening game of the 1951 campaign, a narrow loss to France in Paris, then played his part in the legendary Kinninmonth's Game, when the star-studded Welsh were beaten 19-0 at Murrayfield. However, after the Irish beat Scotland 6-5 at Murrayfield in the very next match, Gemmill was dropped, his place being taken by his High School second-row partner Black, re-called after three years in the wilderness. It was the end of Gemmill's international career.

That loss to the Irish was the first defeat in the notorious 17-game run of losses, during which the selectors used a further nine locks, but, apparently because he was considered slightly small for international play, Gemmill failed to force his way back into the side. However, he more than made up for any conceived lack of bulk with superb line-out play and an aggressive presence about the park.

He and Black formed the second-row for High School, as they won that 1950-51 season's "newspaper" unofficial championship.

He graduated from Glasgow University with a first class honours degree in economics. He then did his national service in the Royal Signals. He played rugby for his regiment and for the Army.

On his return to civvy street, he joined Proctor and Gamble, before joining PA Management Consultants, with whom he worked until taking early retirement in his mid-fifties.

His business career took him away from Glasgow, to posts around the British Isles. During this nomadic period, he played rugby for various clubs: Sale, Middlesbrough, Newcastle Northern and Dublin Wanderers. He played Counties Rugby for Cheshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland and added membership of the Scottish invitation side, Co-optimists to his rugby escutcheon, before winding down his 15-year club career with a finale in the High School team which, under captain Ian Docherty, won the unofficial championship in 1962 - when the second-row pairing was Gemmill and another Scotland cap, Hamish Kemp.

His early retirement allowed him to play a significant role with his old university. He served on the business committee of the general council, before spending a decade on the University Court. His contribution to Gilmorehill life was recognised in 2000, when he was awarded an honorary Doctorate (Duniv), making him a Doctor of the University.

Bob Gemmill was a member of the congregation of Sherbrooke St Gilbert's Church, acting as church treasurer for eight years, during which he helped guide the congregation through the trauma of a serious fire, as well as initiating a successful giving campaign. He was a fine golfer, as a member at Pollok and enjoyed music and travel, two passions he indulged in his retirement.

His final years were blighted by the aftermath of heart trouble, whilst the loss of his son John, to Motor Neuron Disease in 2012 was another blow.

He married twice (his first wife, Anne, was lost to cancer at a young age in 1955) and is survived by son Andrew and daughter Alison from that marriage and by his second wife Elisabeth, whom he married in 1980. He also had five grand-children.