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Former Scottish and British and Irish Lions mainstay Tom Smith has died aged 50. Smith, who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in November 2019, has also played for Glasgow Warriors, Caledonia Reds and Northampton.

Scottish Rugby tweeted: “Scotland and Lions stalwart Tom Smith sadly passed away earlier today at the age of 50. A hugely respected player, Tom will be dearly missed by all associated with rugby in Scotland and throughout the game. All our thoughts are with Tom’s family and friends at this time.

Smith made 61 appearances for Scotland and six for the Lions, who said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Smith. Tom had an incredible impact for the Lions, touring in 1997 as well as in 2001 and was one of the great props to play the game. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. RIP Tom.

Named in Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions squad to face South Africa in 1997, despite only playing three times for the Scots, he would go on to feature in all three Tests as the tourists won a thrilling series 2-1.

He retained his place four years later in Australia, again starting all three Test clashes in a series that ended 3–0 against the Wallabies. Two years later he celebrated again, as Jim Telfer’s Scottish side won the last edition of the Five Nations.

The honor of captaining Scotland was first bestowed at the 2001 Autumn Tests, while the following year his talents were recognized as he was named among a World XV.

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Smith began his professional club career with the Caledonian Reds in 1996 before racking up spells at Glasgow Caledonians and Brive. He ended his playing career in 2009 after an eight-year stint at Northampton, aged 37.

Smith returned north of the border soon after as he took up coaching at Edinburgh, then enjoyed three years in France from 2012 as he was drafted in to take care of the Lyon forwards.

A statement from Northampton read: ‘Deeply sad news tonight as we learn that Tom Smith has passed away. The British and Irish Lion was one of the most gifted props to ever don the BG&G jersey, and an incredible character to boot. Our thoughts are with Tom’s loved ones at this time.

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