Stanley Couchman


Stanley Couchman


In 1978 he was president of the RFU


Cranleigh has produced a number of full internationals but few OCs have made as much of an impression on the rugby world as Stanley Couchman. He only narrowly missed out on a cap. He played in an England trial, was a travelling reserve and toured South Africa with the 1938 British Lions without playing in a Test, all achieved while playing for the Old Cranleighan RFC. “We had a wonderful time playing in the best clubs in the land,” he recalled. “The clubs would shut at 7 and we’d head up to the West End … it was rugby clubs that kept the West End going in those days.”

A lock who was also a goal kicker, he admitted he flunked his chance to impress. When two selectors turned up to watch him kick for Surrey he missed two attempts in front of the posts; soon after, the County Championship final at Twickenham he missed two more kicks and his chance had gone. He continued playing after the war, and as late as 1948 made the headlines after landing nine kicks from ten in a county match.

After retiring from playing he became president of the Surrey RFU and acted as the RFU’s liaison officer on four tours, the most difficult being the controversial visit by South Africa in 1969-70. In 1978 he was president of the RFU.