IT is, of course, mission impossible because we simply can’t compare players of relatively recent years to those who graced the rugby field decades ago. You only have to look at videos of international matches of 30 years ago and you immediately appreciate how different in physique the players of yesteryear were in comparison to the stars of today.
I’ve chosen my uncapped XV mainly from players who gained ‘B’ or ‘A’ caps. This at least sets a selection standard but moreover these are players within my ‘ken’ . So, I apologise to all the great performers who wore those heavy leather boots, knee-length shorts and Cotton Oxford scrum-caps: they represent the greats of an era probably none of us ever experienced.
15. David Barrett (West of Scotland): The kind of player the modern game requires. A sound goal-kicker, an excellent fielder of the high ball and an elusive and creative runner in attack.
14. Mark Moncrieff (Gala/Melrose): A star of the sevens circuit and while not built in the mould of some of the giants playing today he had the compensating factor of clever footwork and blistering speed.
13. Brian Edwards (Boroughmuir): Got very close to a full cap and was perhaps a tad unfortunate to be around at the same time as Sean Lineen and Scott Hastings.
12. David Officer (Currie): Part of a successful Scotland ‘A’ side in the late 90s and early noughties, and toured with the Scotland squad to New Zealand in 2000. A smooth runner with an eye for the gap, Officer proved to be a consummate team player.
11. John Kerr (Haddington/Watsonians): A rumbustious type of winger who would not be deterred by a wall of defenders. Pace and strong defence gives him the nod over a number of other contenders who would include the likes of Peter Hewitt from Heriot’s.
10. Ally Donaldson (Currie): Was key to some of the great successes of the Scotland ‘A’ team in the 90s. A gifted player, Donaldson could slice through gaps but his strong suit was creating space for other players.
9. Harry Whitaker (Hawick): One of three in my selection not capped at ‘B’ or ‘A’ level. He is, however, part of Hawick folklore and would certainly have played for Scotland had he not switched to the league code.
1. Gordon Hill (Gordonians): The big Aberdonian (another non ‘B/A’ cap selection) was a prop who would fit the modern game. A skilful ball player who had a bit of pace, Hill was a menacing scrummager and good enough to get a Scotland trial.
2. Rob Cunningham (Gosforth/Bath): Was unlucky to have understudied so many robust Scotland hookers and to be in an era when bench duty rarely resulted in a full cap.
3. Steve Ferguson (Peebles): A strong prop who benefitted from Scotland tours in the early 90s. A clutch of good performers at full cap level somewhat blocked his rise to the top.
4. Glenn Miller (Heriot’s FP): Was very much an unsung hero but a prodigious performer for the Goldenacre side.
5. Wes Wyroslawski (Jordanhill Coll): A superb athlete, Wyoslawski had the height and agility to be a very good line-out exponent and moreover as a basketball player had a ball playing skillset that would have made him a sought-after second-row in the modern era.
6. Kevin Armstrong (Jed-Forest): Brother of Gary, was a top performer in his own right. His blend of strong defence, awareness of attacking opportunities and sheer indestructibility make him an ideal No 6.
7. Paul Hogarth (Hawick): Another who fits the requirements of the modern era. Physically strong, fast over the ground and a good link player, Hogarth would offer much to this team.
8. Ronnie Kirkpatrick (Jed-Forest): Was another star to emerge from the Jed-Forest club. An intelligent attacking player who could be tight in defence, Kirkpatrick would slot into a pack that emphasised mobility.
16. Allan Hardie (Aberdeen GSFP/Gordonians): Learnt his rugby in the Borders and rose up the selection ladder with good performances for North and Midlands. Although his career was tainted by an incident involving the late great Gordon Brown, Hardie still deserves his place in this squad.
17. Neil McIlroy (Jed-Forest): A big-time player, who graduated through age-grade teams and the districts to attract the eyes of the Scotland selectors.
18. Danny Herrington (Dundee HSFP): Consistently high performances for North and Midlands made Herrington something of a front-row legend north of the Forth. A strong prop with good handling skills, Herrington would be a useful benchman.
19. George Watson (Boroughmuir): The brother of the capped Bill Watson, George had the required height for a second-row forward, and used it to great effect in the line-out both for Edinburgh and Boroughmuir.
20. Fergus Wallace (GHK): Came very close to a full cap after several good tours with Scotland in the early 90s. Versatile in any of the back row positions.
21. Stuart Johnston (Watsonians): May have lived his rugby life in the shadow of his Grand Slam winning brother, but Stuart was a tough and fast-breaking scrum-half who had the skills to play at a high level.
22. Mark McKenzie (Stirling County/Bourgoin-Jallieu): The younger brother of the Scotland hooker Kevin, built his reputation with the Caley Reds before playing for the French club.
23. Jim Gray (Hawick): Part of the Mansfield Park history, represented South of Scotland as a full-back against the 1960 Springboks and the 1963 All Blacks and was in the winning side against the 1966 Wallabies.