Ireland great Jack Kyle passes away
ESPN Staff
November 28, 2014
Jackie Kyle before his Ireland debut, February 2, 1947
© PA Photos

One of the game's great players Jack Kyle has died aged 88.

Kyle died peacefully in his sleep.

Kyle, who in 2002 was voted Ireland's greatest player, played a key role in their 1948 Grand Slam triumph. After making his debut in 1947, he won 46 caps for Ireland, playing predominantly at fly-half, and was on the 1950 British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Speaking to ESPN back in February, Kyle remembered their historic 1948 triumph with fondness. "That was our big year," Kyle said. "I think we played France on New Year's Day in Paris and then we had the other games. We then played England at Twickenham and that was a narrow win at 11 points to 10. We beat Scotland and then played Wales at Ravenhill and we won 6-3. I had no idea how big a deal it was. We knew it was a feat but we didn't realise how long it would be before it was repeated by another Irish side."

He retired in 1963 and undertook humanitarian work in Sumatra and Indonesia. In 1999 he was inducted to the International Rugby Board's Hall of Fame.

In 1953, such was Kyle's remarkable performance against France at Ravenhill, journalist Paul MacWeeney paid tribute to the fly-half's monumental showing by adopting the lines of The Scarlet Pimpernel to read:

They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
That paragon of pace and guile,
That damned elusive Jackie Kyle.

Irish Rugby Football Union president Louis Magee paid tribute to Kyle, saying: "On behalf of the IRFU and the entire rugby community in Ireland I extend our sincere condolences to the Kyle family. Jack is a true legend and gentleman of the game and he will be fondly remembered by everyone in rugby."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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