ONE of Herefordshire more remarkable sporting dynasties was in at the beginning of what was then the Old Luctononians Rugby Club, writes RICHARD PRIME.

The Vaughan family hit the news again last year when Justin Vaughan was appointed chief executive of New Zealand cricket.

Justin, who represented New Zealand at Test cricket as well as turning out for Gloucestershire is, without much doubt, the family’s most celebrated exponent of the summer game.

But, going back a generation, there was considerable fraternal rivalry to establish top billing among the family’s rugby players.

Dr Douglas Vaughan, Justin’s grandfather, was a useful village cricketer in the Kingsland side, but the village GP was more than instrumental in helping to establish rugby in the village by providing four sons, all of whom would be useful performers in the sport, and some rather more than that.

Justin’s father Geoffrey, later to join his father as a GP in the village practice, gained a rugby blue at Cambridge University in 1949 and his uncles Derek and Michael had parts to play in the newly-formed Old Luctonians rugby club.

But while Geoffrey, a prop for Harlequins, would go on to captain North Midlands on a record 38 occasions and played in England trials, top dog among the brothers was, with little room for argument, the eldest of the fraternal quartet, Brian.

A Royal Navy Commander, D B Vaughan, as he was known on the team-sheet in those rather more formal times when amateurism in rugby union was strictly adhered to, not only gained international caps for England but also captained his country.

Brian Vaughan was first selected for England in 1948 when he turned out against Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Australia. In the following year, the Headingley player added to his tally against Scotland, Ireland and France before gaining a final cap against Wales in 1950.

He then went on to further distinction in the game after hanging up his boots when he became an England selector and was appointed manager of the British Lions squad which toured South Africa in 1962.

Some time after his retirement from competitive rugby, he was able to teach his nephew, who had departed from England when he was just nine months old, an early lesson of how sport can be a tough master.

Justin Vaughan was only five when he played his first game of cricket and, by a quirk of fortune, the Commander was on holiday in New Zealand at the time and umpired the match.

“He gave me out lbw,” recalled Justin in an interview with the New Zealand Herald. “I was only five and it was my first ever game. How many five-year-olds get given out lbw? I was so shell-shocked.

“What the heck was he doing? Maybe it was his message of get tough, that there were going to be no favours for me.”