Tony Ward: ‘Kyle is to Irish rugby what Pele is to football in Brazil’

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Jack Kyle goes on one of his many trademark runs in an Ireland shirt

His first cap came in January 1947 on a team that included Karl Mullen, JC Daly, Barney Mullan and Bill McKay to name but a few in at the start of a golden generation and golden period for Irish rugby.

I never got to see John Wilson Kyle play but for anyone remotely connected with rugby on this island, the name Jackie Kyle stands apart.

He won 46 caps for his country from 1947-58, a record for any out-half that stood for another 34 years until overtaken by England’s Rob Andrew in 1992. He united rival communities as seamlessly and as effectively as he ripped opposition defences apart. Jack Kyle was special – very, very special.

Although preceded by Eugene Davy, it’s generally recognised that Kyle lit the out-half flame that has burned for so many Irish out-halves and continues to this day through Johnny Sexton to this day.


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