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Friday, 31 December, 1999, 00:57 GMT
Captain Gary scores OBE

Gary Armstrong Armstrong has notched up 51 international caps

Former Scotland rugby captain Gary Armstrong has been awarded an OBE for services to sport.

Armstrong, who led Scotland in this summer's rugby world cup campaign, said it was a "great honour" to receive the accolade.

The Newcastle Falcons captain, who has now retired from international rugby, added: "I have been in a few good teams and those guys should have been rewarded as well.

"When you begin a career in sport, you don't tend to think about awards like this. But it is nice to be recognised."

Gary Armstrong is tackled by Christian Cullen Armstrong led Scotland in the Rugby World Cup
The 33-year-old scrum half retired as captain of the Scotland with a pledge to concentrate on club commitments at Newcastle.

He said: "I decided to retire after the world cup and that is still the right decision.

"It was time for me to get out. I was finding it difficult to play the whole year round and my body needed a break during the summer.

"I have done my bit now and it is up to someone else to step into the breach."

Renowned for his tenacious style of play, Armstrong made his mark on the international field as part of Scotland's Grand Slam-winning side in 1990.

Injury problems

His prolific half-back partnership with Craig Chalmers turned Scotland into a major force, taking the Five Nations trophy in 1990 and reaching the world cup semi-final a year later.

He notched up 51 international caps, and this year captained Scotland to another Five Nations victory, before leading the national side in the world cup.

He is very much a one-off - a selfless man, blessed with fierce determination
Jim Telfer
The total would undoubtedly have been higher had Armstrong not suffered two horrendous knee injuries which threatened his career.

His entire 1992 and 1995 campaigns were wiped out as he battled back to fitness.

Former Scotland coach Jim Telfer paid tribute to the scrum-half.

He said: "Gary Armstrong has been an outstanding ambassador for Scottish rugby and this honour is very much deserved.".

"Throughout his 11 years in international rugby, his demeanour has not changed.

"He is very much a one-off - a selfless man, blessed with fierce determination and a captain who led his players by stirring example.

"Gary won 51 caps for Scotland and it says much for him that he twice overcame serious knee injuries to return to the international stage where his talent could flourish."

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See also:
24 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Scottish rugby heroes bow out
25 Oct 99 |  Scotland
A performance to be proud of
12 Apr 99 |  Five Nations
Scotland crowned at Murrayfield
11 Apr 99 |  Five Nations
Telfer delight as Scots take title
12 Apr 99 |  Five Nations
French despair as Scots run riot

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