Leicester Tigers are deeply saddened by the death of former player Phil Horrocks-Taylor, an international with England and the Lions, at the age of 86.
Born in Halifax, Horrocks-Taylor won Cambridge Blues in 1956 and ’57, and had been capped twice by England before he joined Tigers as an eyecatching arrival in the 1958/59 season.
He made his debut at fly-half against Coventry in the same season that Ireland international star Tony O’Reilly also joined the Leicester backline.
O’Reilly was selected for the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 1959 and he was joined by Horrocks-Taylor who flew out as an injury replacement and played in the third Test.
Tall for a fly-half of the time and with an impressive kicking game, he played 17 times for the club in 1959/60, mostly outside scrum-half Chalkie White who would become such an influence as coach a generation later, and the fly-half’s influence was felt further the following season when Tigers won 17 times in his 22 appearances and he earned an England recall for a Calcutta Cup win over Scotland.
In an era noted for the inconsistency of national selection, Horrocks-Taylor won nine Test caps across six seasons, including three of the four Tests on tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1963, and he had played 92 times for Tigers when he returned to play his club rugby in Yorkshire that year.
He also played for Wasps, Halifax and Middlesbrough, and was a regular with Yorkshire in the County Championship.
It was former Munster and Ireland contemporary Mick English, the unlucky fly-half to pick up an injury on that 1959 Lions tour, who told the famous story about his English rival when discussing a match in which his opposite number scored a try, saying: “Horrocks went one way, Taylor the other and I was left holding the bloody hyphen.”
On behalf of the whole #TigersFamily, the club expresses its sincere condolences to friends and family.