Scotland and British Lion Rugby internationalist

Born: May 6, 1925;

Died: February 14, 2018

GUS Black, who has died aged 92, was a distinguished Scotland and British and Irish Lions scrum-half, who was, at the time of his death, the oldest Lion, a member of the 1950 touring party to New Zealand and Australia.

Born Angus William Black in Dunfermline, he was educated at Dollar Academy and first achieved representative honours as a 19-year old medical student at Edinburgh University, when, as Cadet AW Black, he played scrum-half in the Scotland Services XV which beat England 18-11 at Leicester, on February 24, 1945.

This was the first of seven appearances for Scotland in services or victory internationals over the following two seasons, including being one of the Scotland team which beat the New Zealand Army XV (All Blacks in all but name) in 1945 – the only occasion on which a Scotland XV has ever beaten a New Zealand one.

With the return of official internationals, Black won the first of an eventual six full caps, when chosen for the visit to Paris, on January 1, 1947, a match which signalled the resumption of normal play, and France's re-admittance to what was then the Five Nations.

He played in Paris and in the first post-war international at Murrayfield, a loss to Wales, on February 1, but was then dropped, missing six straight games, before returning in the side which beat England 6-3 in the Calcutta Cup encounter, at Murrayfield, on March 20, 1948.

He did not feature during the 1949 Five Nations, but returned to the side for the last three internationals of the 1950 tournament, including a second Calcutta Cup win, 13-11, in 1950. Black was then chosen by the Lions' selectors to tour New Zealand and Australia at the end of that season, one of two Edinburgh University players to be chosen – the other was Ranald Macdonald, his half-back partner with the varsity side.

In New Zealand, it was decided that Black's longer, faster pass made him the ideal partner for the great Irish play-maker Jackie Kyle, the Lions' first-choice fly-half. On the end of Black's service, Kyle was that bit further away from the All Blacks' loose forwards and they played together in the first two tests, a 9-9 draw in Dunedin and an 8-0 loss in Christchurch.

At university, Black and Macdonald had practised linking up with the blindfolded Macdonald running onto Black's pass, but, in New Zealand, Kyle preferred to take the ball standing still, which rather negated the benefits of Black's service.

In one of his final interviews, last year, Black admitted he would go to his grave regretting he failed to see Olympic sprinter Ken Jones haring up in support of his break during the Dunedin Test. He said: “If I had been aware of Ken, but I neither saw nor heard his call, and had passed right, he would certainly have scored under the posts and we would have won. But, I went left and the move died.”

In all, Black played in 10 of the 29 games on the tour, before, by his own admission, succumbing to homesickness and boredom – the tour had lasted from May until November. He returned to Scotland, graduated from Edinburgh University and was invited to captain the Rest in the final Trial, prior to the 1951 Five Nations, but, he would never again represent Scotland.

He was from a military family. His father, also Angus Black, and a Scottish Trialist as a young man, rose to the rank of Brigadier in the Royal Artillery. Gus opted for the RAF, rising to the rank of Group Captain prior to his retirement, as consultant administrator in psychiatry to the RAF.

Although his Scotland career had ended indecently early – he was, apparently, even for a scrum-half “a gobby wee so-and-so” who was not afraid to argue with the SRU committee – Gus Black enjoyed a long club career, playing for Notts Lincs and Derbyshire, Leicester, Bristol, the RAF, Combined Services and the Barbarians – whose famous jersey he had first donned as a teenaged student.

He retired from the RAF, back to his native Fife, to a house in Lundin Links, where he tended passionately to his large garden, golfed at Lundin, read voraciously and spent time with his family, sons, Jock, Dave and “Wee Rab” and daughter Kate, plus his grand and great-grand-children.

Meg, whom he had married as students at Edinburgh University in 1948 pre-deceased Gus in 2002, but he continued to live at Lundin Links, prior to going into a home for the final two years of his long life.

With his death, Lewis Jones of Wales becomes the oldest living Lion.