Scottish Rugby tweeted on Wednesday: “Scottish and Lions accessory 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 throughout the game. Our thoughts are with Tom’s family and friends at this time.”
Smith’s former Lions manager Sir Ian McGeechan once described him as “the greatest Scottish player of the professional era”. Indeed, until the Lions Tour 2021, he had been the last Scotsman to start a Lions Test match, having played in six successive Tests in 1997 and 2001.
One of the first ‘modern props’ to expand what was expected of the position, Smith was known for his powerful scrum, footballing skills and ability with the ball in hand. His achievements were recognized in November 2021 with induction into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame.
Smith’s club career began with the Caledonian Reds in 1996, before moving on to Glasgow Warriors, CA Brive, and most notably Northampton Saints for whom he made 174 appearances.
After retiring, Smith remained in the sport. He was appointed forwards coach at Edinburgh in 2009, joined Lyon in the same role three years later and then joined Doncaster Knights in 2019 as head coach.
Smith retired from rugby following his diagnosis and became an ambassador for the bowel cancer charity, 40tude.