Rugby: Allan Jacobsen is prop who went to the top

Allan Jacobsen has won an impressive 65 caps for Scotland
Allan Jacobsen has won an impressive 65 caps for Scotland
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One statistic Allan Jacobsen, who plays his last professional game for Edinburgh Rugby against Dragons at Murrayfield tomorrow, may not wish to be reminded of concerns being the most capped Scotland player (65) never to have scored a try for his country.

As the countdown to the farewell begins Jacobsen can also consider, though, that he is in exceedingly good company, while it may also be the case he proved a good listener at the outset when taking on board advice from a mentor.

The next four most capped players who, in cricketing parlance ‘never troubled the scorer’ are, respectively, Iain Milne, Ian McLauchlan, Hughie McLeod and Dave Rollo.

As for that “advice”, it came on the eve of a trial to propel the man known as “Chunk” on to the representative rugby stage.

“I never had a bit of bother coaching Chunk in the Preston Lodge youth ranks along because he was always mad on rugby,” recalls Davie Kinross. “But there was a problem for a prop in that he was always jumping out of scrums.

“Chunk wanted to run with the ball and sidestep so much at one sevens tournament we played him in the backs!”

The notion of Jacobsen lining up with threequarters will provoke mirth in some but so far as settling there, forget it.

Kinross adds: “There was an Edinburgh under-18 trial at Penicuik which promised to be a big step up the ladder for Allan and I told him on the way ‘right, none of your stupid running about. Just go out an annihilate the prop opposite you!’.”

And annihilation has been Chunk’s forte for the best part of two decades, having been signed for Edinburgh by coach Ian Rankin.

Recalled Rankin: “I actually went along to an age-group game at Myreside to watch Craig Smith, who had been converted from back row to prop.

“Although Craig did have a good career with Edinburgh and Scotland it was Chunk who caught my eye.

“I invited him along to see the training facilities and remember established players wondering who the new kid was.”

Former Scotland star Barry Stewart was one of those who welcomed the new arrival.

“I was in the gym when Chunk walked in and he has been at Edinburgh ever since.

“Spending 16 years at professional level in the front row of such a physical sport is a fantastic achievement and a real tribute to the way Chunk has looked after himself.

For one player who made his PL senior debut on the same day as the 17-year-old Chunk, it was always going to be the case that a pro career beckoned.

Explained ex-full back Greg Kinross: “I started playing mini rugby with Chunk aged six or seven – there is a video of him at that age running right through opposing teams – and from the outset he was a stand-out.

“Looking back now it seems that he was the same size then as he is now, but I claim the credit for the nickname as I’d seen a character in ‘The Goonies’ who looked just like him.

“Along with Dave Sumner, John Brotherstone, Euan Thayne, David Scott, Mark Lyle and Ross Anderson we won a Scottish youth title by beating Langholm in the final and of that PL contingent it was Chunk who went the whole way in rugby.”

Maybe not quite the full distance, considering Chunk’s lack of international tries.

Then again, Ian McGeechan, for all his talents and two Lions tours, never crossed the whitewash in a Scottish jersey either.

Little wonder some are asking why, this week, Edinburgh awarded a two-year contract to Aleki Lutui, who is actually 83 days older – although stats can be misleading.