Ronald Cove-Smith

Ronald Cove-Smith
Ronald Cove-Smith in 1933
Full name Ronald Cove Smith
Date of birth (1899-11-26)26 November 1899
Place of birth Edmonton, Middlesex
Date of death 9 March 1988(1988-03-09) (aged 88)
Place of death Brighton, England
School Merchant Taylors' School
University Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Occupation(s) Doctor
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Lock
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Cambridge University R.U.F.C.
Old Merchant Taylors
King's College Hospital RFC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Isles

Dr Ronald Cove-Smith (26 November 1899 in Edmonton, Middlesex – 9 March 1988 in Brighton) was a distinguished English physician and sportsman. He represented Old Merchant Taylors and King's College Hospital RFC. Internationally he represented the England national rugby union team in 29 tests (1921–1929) (seven as captain) and also captained the British Isles in four tests on the 1924 British Lions tour to South Africa as a lock. He finished on the winning side in 22 of his 29 England matches. He was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards in 1918–1919. In addition to rugby he excelled at swimming and water-polo, winning half-blues in each.[1]

Rugby career

Cove-Smith was a talented schoolboy player at Merchant Taylors School, and carried that talent through to university, playing in three Varsity Matches for Cambridge University from 1919 to 1921, winning his sporting 'Blues'.[2] He led the 1924 British Lions tour to South Africa, losing three of the four tests and drawing one. As captain, he led England to the 1928 Grand Slam and he was inducted onto the World Rugby Museum Wall of Fame[3] in 2001.

He also led a distinguished medical career and served as a vice-president of the British Medical Association.

Personal life

In 1933, he married Florence Margaret Harris.[4] Together, they had three children: Rona Cove-Smith (now Blythe), Penelope Cove-Smith (now Newell-Price) and John Rodney Cove-Smith. Penelope and Rodney followed in their father's footsteps by reading medicine and Rona followed her mother in becoming a nurse, later co-authoring Guidelines for Clinical Nursing Practices: Related to a Nursing Model.[5]


  1. "Ronald Cove-Smith : Rugby Player". 28 August 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  2. Griffiths, John (1990). British Lions. Swindon: Crowood Press. p. 38. ISBN 1-85223-541-1.
  3. Ronald Cove-Smith at the RFU Wall of Fame
  4. "DR. R. COVE-SMITH. Famous Rugby Player Engaged". The Straits Times. 12 September 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  5. Blythe, Rona, McCall, Janice M., Jamieson, Elizabeth (1988) Guidelines for Clinical Nursing Practices: Related to a Nursing Model. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0443037949
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Leonard Corbett
English National Rugby Union Captain
1928 – February 1929
Succeeded by
Joe Periton
Preceded by
Tommy Smyth
British & Irish Lions Captain
Succeeded by
David MacMyn
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