The greatest looseheads of all time: Ian McLauchlan
Ian McLauchlan was initially deemed too small to excel in international rugby. The Scottish loosehead prop proved doubters wrong
Major teams: Jordanhill, Glasgow, Natal
Test span: 1969-79
Scotland caps: 43 (43 starts)
Lions caps: 8 (8 starts)
Test points: 3 (1T)
The man known around the globe as Mighty Mouse was one of only five men to play in all eight Lions Tests in the glory years of the early Seventies, and it was the Ayrshire-born loosehead who kick-started the whole jamboree, by charging down Alan Sutherland’s attempted clearance to score early in the 1971 first Test in Dunedin.
It was the only Test try McLauchlan ever scored, but he brought so much else to the party. As a scrummager, he played havoc with the big New Zealand props, conceding 4st and 5in to Test rival Jazz Muller (and so strong that he used a lawnmower to trim his garden hedge).
By bending his opponent and putting pressure on his neck, McLauchlan made New Zealand pay for underestimating the specialist nature of the prop position. Tight binding and low scrummaging negated the All Blacks’ weight advantage, and the result was a Lions set-piece that laid the foundation for victory.
McLauchlan was also a force in the loose – Jim Telfer used to reckon he’d step on his own granny to get the ball – and he is irked to this day by suggestions that he only got his Lions place because of injury to the ‘first choice’ Ray McLoughlin.
Playing alongside Bobby Windsor and Fran Cotton in South Africa, McLauchlan was part of one of the all-time great front rows and he played 13 games on tour, captaining the Lions against Southern Universities.
A long-time PE teacher, Mighty Mouse also captained Scotland 19 times, a record until being overtaken by David Sole. Since bowing out at the top level aged 37, he has had a successful career in rugby administration that included the SRU presidency from 2010-12.
For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here.