Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle.

John Wilson 'Jack' Kyle was a pupil at the Academy during the war years and during his final year, 1943-44, he was Head Boy, Captain of Rugby and Captain of Cricket. It is ironic that in light of his later fame as a rugby player, he was regarded at school as a better cricketer!

He attended The Queen’s University to study medicine and in 1947 won his first cap for Ireland.  In 1948, he was a key player in its first ever Grand Slam in The Five Nations Championship and he played in the 1949 and 1951 Irish teams that won The Triple Crown.

He secured a total of 46 international caps and was an outstanding member of the 1950 British Lions side that toured New Zealand & Australia, playing in 20 of the 29 matches. In 2002, having been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame, he was voted Ireland's greatest rugby player ever. His only weakness, according to Welsh rugby legend Cliff Morgan, was that he was too much of a gentleman!

In 1953, following a solo try against France at Ravenhill, a journalist wrote of him, parodying The Scarlett Pimpernel:

They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
That paragon of pace and guile,
That damned elusive Jackie Kyle.

In 1962 he qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and took up a post in Sumatra. Later in life he insisted that, notwithstanding his sporting triumphs, he was prouder of the 34 years he spent abroad as a surgeon, mainly in Zambia, providing essential medical services where none were available. He was awarded the OBE in 1959.