James G Robertson is the most recent pioneer featured in our Hidden Figures on-line collection, working in Black Historical past Month, bringing to life the tales of under-the-radar sporting pioneers all through Black Historical past Month
Final Up to date: 17/10/20 7:22am
James G Robertson is extensively regarded as the world’s first black rugby participant however little or no is thought about his journey into the sport.
Born in Gambia in 1854, his father was Scottish surgeon Dr Daniel Robertson who devoted his life to working within the West African nation, rising to develop into colonial secretary in 1849. There isn’t any document of Daniel Robertson marrying and it’s believed he had two sons with a Gambian lady – James George, and his brother John, who was born three years later.
Aged seven, James arrived in Scotland to proceed his schooling the place he boarded in Crieff earlier than becoming a member of his father and brother in St Andrews. He attended Madras Faculty however there is no such thing as a document of what sports activities he performed.
Rugby didn’t fairly resemble the sport it’s right this moment. In actual fact, there have been varied types of rugby being performed – groups of 20 gamers with 15-man scrums occurring for minutes at a time.
Inter-club video games began taking off recurrently within the 1860s however there have been no concise legal guidelines, with video games usually being halted whereas captains and umpires argued over choices. The disputes and mix-ups couldn’t proceed and in 1868, the Legal guidelines of Soccer as performed by the Principal Golf equipment in Scotland rule booklet was produced – generally referred to as the Inexperienced E-book. Apparently, the Scottish Soccer Union, which was shaped in 1873, solely modified their title to Scottish Rugby Union in 1924.
How James G Robertson was launched to this new recreation is unclear, however his curiosity began at college. He attended Edinburgh the place he learn medication earlier than switching to Glasgow, however he selected to play for Royal Excessive College Former Pupils, one of many Scottish Rugby Union’s founding groups.
A group image from 1871 reveals him standing between Angus Buchanan and Alexander Petrie. Each performed within the first-ever worldwide recreation in the identical 12 months when Scotland performed England, with Buchanan having the honour of scoring the first-ever worldwide attempt.
Robertson, who performed within the forwards, featured in a complete of 46 video games for Royal Excessive College FP and in addition represented Edinburgh 4 instances towards Glasgow.
Robertson left Edinburgh College in 1876 with a medical diploma and moved to County Durham. He continued to play rugby for Northumberland membership, primarily based in Gateshead, captaining the aspect for 4 years from 1879.
Information present he married Emily Joel in 1879 and had three sons and a daughter. In 1894, the household moved to Ashwell in Hertfordshire the place he was the village physician and closely concerned within the tennis and cricket golf equipment.
However Robertson died unexpectedly in 1900, aged 46, and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard the place some 300 mourners got here to pay their respects.
Black Historical past Month
Hold throughout all our options, information tales and video content material on Sky Sports activities Information and our Sky Sports activities platforms. Try the most recent Black Historical past Month content material right here
require(['skysports_digrev', 'sdc-site-pub-sub'], function (appController, pubsub) window.sdc = window.sdc "https://www.skysports.com/" ; pubsub.init(window.sdc);