Dickie Jeeps

Dickie Jeeps

Years: 1952-1965
Position: Scrum-half
Appearances: 273
England caps: 24
British and Irish Lions tours:
South Africa (1956), Australia/New Zealand (1959), South Africa (1962)

In 1955, the uncapped Dickie Jeeps travelled to South Africa as the Lions' third-choice scrum-half; a kind of insurance policy to be activated when his elders and betters either fancied a break or suffered one. When he retired from international rugby seven years later, no-one had played more Tests for the touring side.

That year he had only a single England trial and been named as a reserve for his country before being chosen for the touring party.

Once in South Africa though, the speed and consistent smoothness of his service from the base of the scrum made him the preferred partner of Welsh stand-off genius Cliff Morgan .

Jeeps played in 12 of the tour's 20 matches and all four in the Test series, which the Lions drew 2-2. Morgan's faith in his junior half-back partner paid off most importantly in the epic first Test, when Jeeps' perfect pass enabled him to make the run that put the tourists ahead just seconds after injury to Reg Higgins had reduced them to 14 men.

Jeeps remains the Saints' most capped British and Irish Lion and has long since passed into the pantheon of club legends.

He was a naturally gifted sportsman who averaged 100 as a schoolboy batsman and who nearly turned down a pre-season trial at the Saints as it would have meant missing a cricket match.

That was at the start of 1952/53 and Jeeps went on to have a 13-year career at Franklin's Gardens that took in 273 appearances and 48 tries. He captained the club in 1958.

As well as being the first choice Lions number nine for three tours he also held down the England starting spot for 24 tests and captained his nation 13 times.