The former Scotland fly-half who has spent 46 years with the BBC will join a distinguished list of winners, including Lawrence Dallaglio, Will Greenwood, Jason Robinson and Jason Leonard, who have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the game in England.The legendary commentator, who will call time on his illustrious broadcasting career in December at the end of the 2018 autumn internationals, began working for the BBC in 1972 before being appointed the official rugby union correspondent in 1983.
Since then, the 73-year-old has covered every Rugby World Cup for the BBC since the tournament began in 1987, including delivering the immortal lines as Jonny Wilkinson sent his drop goal between the posts to seal England’s dramatic 20-17 victory over Australia to secure the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Making his test debut against England in 1968, Ian made eight appearances for Scotland from 1968 to 1970, with the talented fly-half playing a key role in Scotland’s famous 14-5 Calcutta Cup victory over England during the 1970 Five Nations.
On receiving the news of his award, Ian said: “One good commentary for the BBC in 46 years and lo and behold I receive the 2018 RPA Special Merit Award. In brief I feel honoured, humbled, surprised beyond belief, thrilled and very grateful. Thank you Jonny for kicking that drop goal in 2003, and thank you to the RPA for making an old man very happy.”
RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley paid tribute to Ian and said: “It’s an enormous privilege to honour Ian with the RPA Special Merit Award. As well as being a gifted fly-half for Cambridge University and Scotland, ‘Robbo’ has been at the very top of his profession as BBC rugby correspondent for 46 years, delivering some of the finest moments in rugby history in spectacular fashion. His warm and laconic commentary style has captured the hearts and minds of rugby fans all over the world, and it is very fitting that we pay tribute to his wonderful career at the 20th RPA Players’ Awards.”
The RPA Special Merit Award recognises an outstanding contribution to the game in England, as voted by the RPA Players’ Board.