Ronald Cove-Smith
Ronald Cove-Smith in 1933
Date of birth(1899-11-26)26 November 1899
Place of birthEdmonton, London, England
Date of death9 March 1988(1988-03-09) (aged 88)
Place of deathBrighton, England
SchoolMerchant Taylors' School
UniversityGonville and Caius College, Cambridge
SpousePenelope Florence Cove-Smith
ChildrenRona Blythe, Penelope Newell-Price, Rodney Cove-Smith
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Cambridge University R.U.F.C.
Old Merchant Taylors
King's College Hospital RFC
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Isles

Ronald Cove-Smith (26 November 1899 – 9 March 1988) was an physician and sportsman. He represented Old Merchant Taylors and King's College Hospital RFC. Internationally he represented the England national rugby union team in 29 tests (1921–1929) (seven as captain) and also captained the British Isles in four tests on the 1924 British Lions tour to South Africa as a lock. He finished on the winning side in 22 of his 29 England matches. He was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards in 1918–1919. In addition to rugby he excelled at swimming and water-polo, winning half-blues in each.[1]

Rugby career

Cove-Smith was a talented schoolboy player at Merchant Taylors School, and carried that talent through to university, playing in three Varsity Matches for Cambridge University from 1919 to 1921, winning his sporting 'Blue'.[2] He led the 1924 British Lions tour to South Africa, losing three of the four tests and drawing one. As captain, he led England to the 1928 Grand Slam and he was inducted onto the World Rugby Museum Wall of Fame[3] in 2001.

He also led a distinguished medical career and served as a vice-president of the British Medical Association.

Personal life

In 1933, he married Florence Margaret Harris.[4] Together, they had three children: Rona Cove-Smith (now Blythe), Penelope Cove-Smith (now Newell-Price) and John Rodney Cove-Smith. Penelope and Rodney followed in their father's footsteps by reading medicine and Rona followed her mother in becoming a nurse, later co-authoring Guidelines for Clinical Nursing Practices: Related to a Nursing Model.[5]


  1. ^ "Ronald Cove-Smith : Rugby Player". 28 August 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  2. ^ Griffiths, John (1990). British Lions. Swindon: Crowood Press. p. 38. ISBN 1-85223-541-1.
  3. ^ Ronald Cove-Smith at the RFU Wall of Fame
  4. ^ "DR. R. COVE-SMITH. Famous Rugby Player Engaged". The Straits Times. 12 September 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  5. ^ Blythe, Rona, McCall, Janice M., Jamieson, Elizabeth (1988) Guidelines for Clinical Nursing Practices: Related to a Nursing Model. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0443037949
Sporting positions Preceded byLeonard Corbett English National Rugby Union Captain 1928 – February 1929 Succeeded byJoe Periton Preceded byTommy Smyth British & Irish Lions Captain 1924 Succeeded byDavid MacMyn