Rugby legend throws weight behind Scottish label

Pic Alan Richardson Dundee Pix-Ar.co.uk'John Jeffrey Rugby legend and hill farmer in the Scottish Borders
Pic Alan Richardson Dundee Pix-Ar.co.uk'John Jeffrey Rugby legend and hill farmer in the Scottish Borders

BORDERS rugby legend John Jeffrey is throwing his weight behind a new Quality Meat Scotland campaign to encourage consumers to ‘Get Behind The Label’ and support Scotland’s red meat industry and champion the quality of Scottish farming.

The inspirational sportsman, known affectionately as “JJ”, is now a livestock farmer in both the Borders and near Dunbar and is a member of the quality assurance schemes which underpin the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork brands.

Joining two other rugby legends, turned farmers, David Sole and Rob Wainwright, John Jeffrey is getting behind the £220,000 campaign which aims to improve consumers’ understanding of the high welfare and traceability behind these world-famous brands, throughout Scotland.

Nicknamed “The White Shark” during his international rugby career because of his distinctive blond thatch of hair, the formidable player won 40 caps for Scotland between 1984 and 1991, making him, at the time, Scotland’s most capped flanker and also a British and Irish Lion.

John played in two Rugby World Cups, including New Zealand in 1987, and is over in New Zealand in his current role as a Scotland representative on the International Rugby Board.

These days John farms in partnership with his father Jim and his wife Anne, with over 1,300 acres at Deuchrie near Dunbar and as a tenant on the Duke of Roxburgh’s estate, 1,100 acres at Kersknowe.

John married fairly late in life but one perk of his many years as a bachelor was they ensured he learned to cook.

“Friends and family teased on our wedding day that having cooked Anne my full repertoire of seven passable dishes I had no choice but to propose,” he said.

The quality of beef and lamb Scotland produces is something John clearly takes great pride in.

“Our family are big fans of roasts which I like to cook.

“We’ll cook a leg of lamb on Sunday, have cold lamb on Monday and a curry on Wednesday so we get three great meals from just one leg of lamb,” added John.

Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland commented: “We are absolutely delighted John, Rob and David are supporting our ‘Get Behind The Label’ campaign.

“There is a real synergy between farming and rugby, particularly a sense of pride and determination to be undaunted by the elements.

“These three former Scotland international players show the same absolute conviction to their farming operations as they did on the pitch and their involvement in our campaign over the coming weeks – with rugby so high profile - will substantially help to convey the many reasons our farmers take such pride in the quality of the beef, lamb and pork they produce.”

He continues: “All three rugby legends are also proud members of our quality assurance schemes which are among the best and most long-established in the world, giving consumers confidence in the high standards of welfare, quality and traceability behind our ‘Scotch’ brands.”

The three rugby players, John, Rob and David will appear in a butchers’ shop campaign, as part of the ‘Get Behind The Label” campaign.

They will join a mixture of beef, pork and lamb producers from around Scotland who will also feture in atmospheric billboard displays over the coming months.