Jim Telfer

Jim Telfer
Full name James Telfer
Date of birth (1940-03-17) 17 March 1940
Place of birth Melrose, Scotland
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 94 kg (14 st 11 lb; 207 lb)[1]
University Moray House School of Education
Occupation(s) Retired
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Number eight
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Melrose RFC
South of Scotland
correct as of 24 July 2007.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Lions
correct as of 1 March 2009.
Coaching career
Years Club / team
British Lions

James "Jim" Telfer (born 17 March 1940) is a Scottish rugby union coach and a former rugby player. A former headmaster at Hawick High School and Galashiels Academy as a geography teacher, he has won fame as a Scottish forwards coach who gave punishing training sessions to his players. With Sir Ian McGeechan he has had success with both the Scotland national rugby union team and the British and Irish Lions.

Playing career

Telfer gained twenty one caps, and may have gained more, but for injury; as Allan Massie writes of him:

"Telfer is a man of innate authority. (There's a wealth of quiet reserve and self-knowledge, touched by that form of self-mockery which appears as under-statement, in the way he will describe himself as being a 'dominant personality')"[2]

Telfer played back row for Scotland and for the Lions in 1966 and 1968. He was impressed and heavily influenced by New Zealand rugby.[2] Unfortunately, after a cartilage operation he slowed up.[2]

George Crerar said of Telfer "The great thing about Jim Telfer is that he makes sure that if he isn't going to win the ball the other side won't get it either."[3]


He was head coach to the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand in 1983. He was assistant coach, with particular responsibility for the forwards, on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 1997.

Telfer coached Scotland to the Grand Slam in 1984 and, as assistant to Sir Ian McGeechan, to his second Grand Slam in 1990. In his second term as head coach from 1998–1999, Scotland won the final Five Nations Championship.

He currently manages and coaches the Melrose RFC Under-18 team - Melrose Wasps.


  1. http://www.lionsrugby.com/history/legends/noel_muprhy.php
  2. 1 2 3 Massie, p189
  3. Massie, p190


Preceded by
Nairn McEwan
Scotland national rugby union team coach
Succeeded by
Colin Telfer
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