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Hall of Fame Inductee - Mike Gibson



Full Name: Mike Gibson

D.O.B: 3 December, 1942
Position: Centre
Country: Ireland (69 caps, 112 points) and British Lions (12 caps, N/A points)
Clubs: Cambridge University, London Irish

Mike Gibson is still arguably the greatest centre to ever grace a rugby union sports field. On debut for Ireland he played first five (fly half) but such was his versatility he could play any position in the back line to a high standard. However it was at centre that he could show his full bag of tricks and it was that position he played all his games for the Lions. It was playing for the Lions in 1971 against New Zealand that Gibson was at his peak of his powers, and he was a key reason why the Lions won that series (their only series win to date against the AB's).

Gibson was the "complete" rugby player, and would have been perfect in todays game with his all round ability, versatility and strength. He could goal kick, drop kick (6 in his Irish career), had silky passing and evasion skills, footspeed and big defense. Most importantly he had superb "vision" which allowed him to find gaps that seemingly were not there using a well placed kick, brilliant pass or making a hole in the defense through his own acceleration and footwork.

His career spanned an incredible 15 years, during which he was capped 69 caps for Ireland (a record for the country until finally being surpassed by Malcolm O'Kelly in 2005) and 12 tests for the Lions.

His first game was in 1964 at the age of 21 against England at Twickers, where he promptly stole the show in a 4 tries to one win (18-5), the first Irish win over England at Twickers for over 15 years. His final game was in 1979 for Ireland against Australia on the wing (won by Ireland 9-3 in Sydney), though at the age of 36 he had lost a lot of his once impressive speed. He played competively for his club side until the age of 42.

* Elected to International rugby's Hall of Fame in 1997
* Inducted into the PRA Barclays Hall of Fame in 2006 along with David Duckham and Ian McGeechan.
* 112 Test points for Ireland (9 tries, 16 penalties, 7 conversions and 6 drop goals)
* Toured with the British Lions 5 times: 1966 (lost in New Zealand/won in Australia), 1968 (lost to South Africa), 1971 to New Zealand (won), 1974 to South Africa (won) and 1977 (lost to New Zealand).
* Has played a record number of games for a Lion in New Zealand - 45 (not likely to be ever beaten!).
* Had the Irish International cap record for an amazing 26 years.
* Picked at inside centre in Bill McClarens all time World 15.

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