Frans Herman ten Bos

Scotland rugby internationalist and businessman

Born: April 21, 1937

Died: August 31, 2016

FRANS ten Bos, who has died aged 79 after a short illness, did not have a drop of Scottish blood in him, but this English-born son of Dutch parents grew to so love his adopted land he became one of the best-loved Scottish rugby internationalists of his era.

His father, an aviator, was an Anglophile, and, convinced war was coming to Europe, he sent his wife to England to have each of their three children. Thus, when war did break out in 1939, the family drove across France to Bordeaux, from where they embarked on a ship carrying cocoa to England. Theirs was one of a three-ship convoy, the only one to make it.

The Bos family set up house in a London hotel, but the Blitz so terrified one of the girls, the family decamped to Loch Awe, then, after Frans ten Bos Snr escaped from occupied Holland to join the Fleet Air Arm as a Swordfish pilot, they moved to St Andrew's.

Young Frans's deal with Scotland was sealed. He did not enjoy prep school, but, once enrolled at Fettes, he blossomed on the sports field, excelling at hockey and at rugby, where he played in the XV.

Leaving school and feeling by now entirely Scottish, he attempted to join the Cameron Highlanders as an officer cadet, but was turned down as insufficiently Scottish. Undismayed, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as a lowly Jock, before being commissioned and seeing active service during the ill-fated Suez campaign.

His national service over, he went up to Oxford. He intended playing hockey, but was hijacked into the rugby squad, earning his Blue and getting to know several future Scotland team mates. On leaving Oxford, he went into the City of London, joining London Scottish – the start of a life-long association with the exiles club.

At the time, England unearthed their for-the-time massive second row pairing of Marques and Currie, two giants for the time. The other nations then sought to fight fire with fire, by capping their own giant locks. In the six-foot-three inch, 16 stones ten Bos, and the even taller and heavier Mike Campbell-Lammerton, Scotland came up with their own two big men, whose ability to lock the scrum and also get about the park caused Bill McLaren to describe them as nuclear-fuelled dinosaurs.

He won his first cap in the 1959 Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham, partnering Glasgow High School FP's Hamish Kemp in the boiler-house, after ten Bos was preferred to his long-term friend and London Scottish clubmate Mike Swan.

He went on the ground-breaking first international short tour, to South Africa, in 1960.

He and Campbell-Lammerton, who would operate as a lock partnership on 12 occasions, first came together for the French international, which opened the 1961 international season, continuing as first choice across that and the next two seasons of Five Nations rugby.

The highlight of his Scotland career came in the Welsh match, at Cardiff Arms Park in 1962. Scotland had not won in Wales for 35 years, but, after 15 minutes, ten Bos put Ronnie Glasgow over for an unconverted try, before, later in the first half, he recovered a high Garryowen from Gordon Waddell and charged over. Ken Scotland converted and Scotland led 8-0 at the break.

The Welsh hammered Scotland in the second half, but could only score a dropped goal as the visitors pulled off a great win. Although much lauded for his performance, ten Bos always maintained he had a poor game, apart from giving the scoring pass for the first try, then scoring the second himself.

Hawick's Billy Hunter and a very young Peter Brown were preferred to the established locks for the start of the 1964 campaign, but, while Campbell-Lammerton regained his place, ten Bos won no further caps. He continued to play with distinction for London Scottish, even - rare for a lock of the time - featuring in their Seven which made winning the Middlesex Sevens, at Twickenham an annual event. He and Campbell-Lammerton also locked the London Counties scrum against the 1963-64 touring All Blacks.

His many years of service to Scottish were recognised with his induction into the club's Hall of Fame.

He had a long and successful career in the City of London where he was chairman of Henderson Strata and the Schawk Wace Group.

He was twice married, and is survived by his three daughters from his first marriage and by Teresa, his Spanish-born second wife, with whom he relocated to Glen Prosen in Angus to spend his twilight years back in Scotland, the land he came to love.

His passing leaves David Rollo as the last survivor of a feared Scottish front five, whose names still trip off the tongue, more than 50 years after their last international as a unit: Hughie McLeod, Norman Bruce and Rollo, ten Bos and Campbell-Lammerton, the powerhouse behind Scotland's recovery from the dire days of 17 straight losses in the 1950s, to the better times of the next decade.

As for ten Bos and Campbell-Lammerton as a second-row pairing, they are right up there with Alistair McHarg and Gordon Brown and Chris Gray, Damien Cronin and the present-day brothers Richie and Jonny Gray, in the ranks of great Scottish boiler-house pairings.