IRB Hall of Fame
The International Rugby Board has inducted former Ireland and British & Irish Lions great Mike Gibson MBE into the IRB Hall of Fame.
Former IRB Chairman and Rugby World Cup Limited Director Dr Syd Millar CBE presented the commemorative cap and gold pin to Gibson at a special induction at the Ulster Rugby awards in Belfast on Tuesday evening to honour a player who, at the time of his retirement, was the world’s most capped player.
Gibson is still the fourth most capped British & Irish Lion of all time and his induction comes under the theme 'innovation and creativity'.
“It is an honour to be inducting a man who I had the great pleasure of playing alongside for Ulster and Ireland. Mike Gibson was one of the finest players of his generation, one of the finest players ever to represent Ireland and the British & Irish Lions and a man who epitomised the very ethos of the Game and its values,” said Millar, himself inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2009.
Born in 1942, Gibson established a reputation as one of the world’s finest centres in a glittering playing career that featured five British & Irish Lions tours and 69 Ireland Tests.
Playing for the North of Ireland club and Ulster, Gibson’s great talent was evident at an early age whether at fly half, centre or on the wing. A move to England followed to study Law at Cambridge University, where he won three Blues and demonstrated his credentials to play the Game at the highest level.
Gibson made his international debut at fly half as a 21 year old against England in 1964 and never looked back, becoming a mainstay of the Ireland team during an international career that lasted 15 years.
British & Irish Lions tours were a natural arena for Gibson to underscore his talent, playing with and against the very best in the Game. He represented the Lions a remarkable 68 times over five tours, winning 12 Test caps, and was a mainstay of the victorious tours to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974.
Gibson said: "It is an honour to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame and to be recognised amongst an illustrious list of greats. I consider Rugby to be the greatest team sport and I must give thanks to all my team mates with whom I trained and played. Without them this would not have been possible."
Awarded an MBE for services to Rugby, Gibson continues to practice Law in Belfast where he plays an active role in the Rugby community. Further IRB Hall of Fame inductions will be made throughout 2011 in both hemispheres, including during Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.