MANY Scottish rugby supporters will remember Cammy Murray dancing past New Zealand’s Jonah Lomu as he scored a try in the 1999 World Cup quarter-final and he has been looking back fondly on his career after announcing his retirement from the sport.
The 37-year-old Berwickshire High School PE teacher called time after a weekend in which he helped Melrose lift their second club championship in succession – a fitting end to 20 years in the senior ranks during which he earned 26 caps for his country and played with distinction for numerous clubs.
In an interview with scottishrugby.org Murray said: “I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of things in my rugby career, whether at Haddington, Hawick and Melrose in the club game, and then playing for Scotland.
“I’ve got some great memories, winning the cup with Hawick, winning the league and promotion when I was a youngster at Haddington, and the back-to-back titles with Melrose.”
After impressing in the club ranks for Haddington and Hawick and then with pro club Edinburgh, Murray was brought in to the Scotland set-up in 1998.
Scotland lost on his first five outings, but beat Wales 33-20 on his sixth to kick-start a great 1999.
Although they lost to England 24-21 in their second Five Nations match that year, they defeated Ireland 30-13 with Murray scoring two tries.
And then a brilliant 33-22 win in Paris against France coupled with England’s loss to Wales the next day gave Scotland the trophy.
Speaking recently, he looked back on that tournament and said: “The Wales game was important because it was the first match and we hadn’t been on a great run before that.
“In fact, for a number of young players, myself included, it was our first win in a Scottish jersey and, from that day on, we felt we could do something.
“We really should have won the game at Twickenham and we really were gutted not too, but we bounced back well against the Irish before the amazing last weekend.
“Paris was all a bit of a daze really.
“Something just seemed to happen after they got that early try and everything we touched seemed to end in a try. We had good ball players in that team, the likes of Gregor [Townsend] and [Alan] Tait and when they got going they really got going. What a feeling it was to be part of a Scottish team that had won the championship. It was brilliant.”
In the World Cup later that year, he was involved against South Africa, Uruguay, Spain, Western Samoa and New Zealand.
He played his last Test match in 2001 against Argentina and, from there, turned out a bit longer for Edinburgh before two seasons with the Border Reivers when they joined the Celtic League back in 2002.
Two years later, he left the club and took some time out from the sport. However, he soon got itchy feet and returned to action with Melrose before a bad shoulder injury looked to have ended his career.
“I thought I might not have been able to play again, but I was determined to and, once fit again, I rejoined Melrose at the beginning of last season [2010/11] and it has been brilliant.
“I missed being around the boys and the banter, while I still felt I could offer something on the pitch,” he said.