Jack Kyle

The Ghost was one of the greatest rugby players ever

Northern Irish poet Louis MacNiece, when asked by an interviewer what he would wish for above all else, replied that he would love to play rugby like Jack Kyle.

Born in Belfast on January 10, 1926 Kyle began to play rugby at Belfast Royal Academy. He attended Queen’s University and, while a student, made his debut for Ireland in 1947 against France.

With Kyle directing the team from out half, Ireland enjoyed instant success, winning the Five Nations ‘grand slam’ in 1948, and the ‘triple crown’ in 1949. He went on to win 46 caps for Ireland between 1947 and 1958, and made six appearances in test matches for the British Lions against New Zealand and Australia.

Hailed in his time as a rugby genius, Kyle earned the nickname The Ghost for his elusive running, and he is still revered as one of the greatest rugby players ever. When his playing career ended Kyle travelled widely, eventually settling in Zambia where he worked as a surgeon. Although he still lives there, he is a frequent visitor to Belfast.