Scott Gibbs

Scott Gibbs
Personal information
Full name Ian Scott Gibbs
Date of birth (1971-01-23) 23 January 1971
Place of birth Bridgend, Glamorgan, Wales
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 15 st 7 lb (98 kg)
Club information
Position Centre
Current club Retired
Senior clubs*
YearsClubApps (points)
Bridgend RFC
Neath RFC
Swansea RFC
St Helens
Swansea RFC

14 (16)
42 (63)
48 (92)
153 (290)
16 (15)
Representative teams
1993, 1997, 2001
Wales RU
British and Irish Lions
Great Britain
Wales RL
53 (50)
5 (5)

2 (0)
* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.

Ian Scott Gibbs (born 23 January 1971) is a former rugby footballer who represented Wales and the Lions in rugby union and Wales and Great Britain in rugby league. His most memorable feats were his performance in the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa (in which he was named "Player of the Series") and the superb individual try he scored in the dying minutes of the last ever Five Nations match in 1999 against England.

Rugby union

Gibbs was born in Bridgend and started his Rugby career at Pencoed RFC at mini and youth level, his first class career started at Bridgend RFC during the 1990/91 season, followed by a short spell at Neath RFC, before making his Welsh debut in 1991 against England. However he moved to Swansea RFC in January 1992, scoring a try on his debut in a Cup game against Oakdale. Gibbs also scored further tries that season in the cup against Neath RFC and Newport RFC to help Swansea reach the final where they lost to Llanelli RFC at Cardiff Arms Park.

Despite being only 22, he was selected for the 1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand, where he impressed so much that he was selected for the second and third tests instead of then-England captain Will Carling.

In 1994 Gibbs left union to join rugby league team St Helens.[1]

Rugby league

Whilst playing league, Gibbs was selected to play for Wales in the 1995 World Cup.[2] He also won the Challenge Cup and the inaugural Super League title with St. Helens in 1996.[3] He played at centre in the 1996 Challenge Cup Final victory over Bradford Bulls.[4]

Scott Gibbs played Centre, i.e. number 3, in St. Helens' 16–25 defeat by Wigan in the 1995–96 Regal Trophy final during the 1995–96 at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 13 January 1996.[5]

Return to union

On his return to union in 1996 it was sometimes joked that he was the fastest prop in world rugby, though in fact he was an inside centre. He became known as the world's hardest tackler (summed up by his nickname "Car-Crash") and this was exemplified by his performance in his second Lions tour.

In 1997 Gibbs was a key member of the victorious British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. The Springboks were at the time the world champions following the 1995 World Cup and were expected to win the series. However, the Lions produced some memorable defensive performances with Gibbs at the centre of the action pulling off some devastating tackles.

In the defining moment of the series, Gibbs crashed through the Springboks' key player, 19-stone Os du Randt on one of his trademark bullocking runs. The Lions went on to win the series 2–1 and Gibbs was voted "Player of the Series".

In later years Gibbs was sometimes criticised for being too one-dimensional but he did show startling agility to claim the winning try in the last-ever Five Nations match in 1999. Wales were playing England at Wembley with England trying to complete the Grand Slam. England led by 6 points with 3 minutes left to play and appeared to have won the game but in one of the last plays of the match, Gibbs received a Scott Quinnell pass 20m from the try line and proceeded to 'sidestep' one player for one of the most celebrated tries in Welsh history. (In a 2013 article for The Guardian, Gibbs said that the play was inspired by a move that his old St Helens teammate Bobbie Goulding had regularly used to great success in the 13-man code, namely packing the midfield with forwards before allowing a back to cut through on a diagonal dummy run.)[6] Following Neil Jenkins' conversion, Wales won the match 32–31 in what is agreed to be one of the best matches played in the competition and caused England not only to miss out on the Grand Slam, but handed the last ever Five Nations Championship to Scotland.

In 2001 Gibbs was called up as a replacement to the 2001 British Lions tour to Australia, though he did not play in any of the Tests.


Gibbs has now retired from rugby (with 53 caps for Wales), but can still be seen contributing to the BBC's rugby union coverage. He also coaches the Pirates in Muscat, Oman

Gibbs resides in Cape Town, South Africa, with his fiancee.[7]


  1. Rugby Union: Gibbs' flight to St Helens outrages Swansea: Welsh and British Isles union centre switches codes for five-year contract and derides his former sport's efforts to keep him The Independent, 20 April 1994
  2. Howell, Andy (12 December 2007). "Henson would be big success, says Gibbs". Western Mail. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  3. "Gareth Thomas completes switch from union to Wales rugby league side Crusaders". London, UK: Telegraph Media Group Limited. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  4. "". Steve Prescott Stats. Steve Prescott Foundation. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  5. "13th January 1996: St Helens 16 Wigan 25 (Regal Trophy Final)". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  6. Rees, Paul (13 March 2013). "The story of Scott Gibbs's try that broke England hearts". The Guardian. London.
  7. Simon Gaskell (2 March 2013). "Scott Gibbs to wed". Retrieved 3 March 2013.

External links

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