TOUGH, humble and a top class room mate.

That’s how the British and Irish Lions described Tom Smith. 

There can’t be a rugby player in the country this week who didn’t shed a tear when the news broke that this great man had lost his battle with cancer at the age of 50. 

I remember reading about Tom Smith’s diagnosis back in 2019 with stage 4 cancer, with tumours in his colon, brain and liver and thinking how cruel this disease can be. 

It’s hard to believe that someone who in many people’s eyes was one of the best rugby players who ever pulled on both the Scottish and Lions shirt could get cancer and die so young. 

I know there will be so many great stories of Tom’s exploits on and off the pitch.

He undoubtedly inspired all those players who followed him and will be greatly missed. 

However since his diagnosis in 2019 his inspirational character transcended the rugby world to all those facing similar challenges. 

One message online was from someone facing a similar cancer battle and their words simply proved how much strength Tom gave this man in his own cancer journey. 

It’s easy to see how well respected Tom was not just as a player but as a human.

Stories flooded social media of how he had impacted the life’s of those who he had met. 

Nathan Hines said he was the only man to scare him more than Jim Telfer.

This presence on the pitch saw him selected for the 1997 Lions tour after just three games for Scotland.

The selection proved a good one as he played all the Test matches and was key in the Lions winning the Test against a much more favoured South Africa side.

I have always believed that sport gave me the mindset to deal with my tumour and I know that Tom would have approached life with cancer the way he did on the rugby pitch, with courage and a fight. 

Chris Cusiter gave insight to this mindset when he shared a story of his first training session with Scotland. 

He spoke about how keen he was to impress, and hit Tom a bit too eagerly.

He swiftly found himself been grabbed by the scruff of the neck by Tom and told: “easy sunshine”  

I can only imagine what it must have been like to have a mentor like Tom Smith to look up to as a young player coming onto the Scotland Team. 

Scotland and Scottish sport lost two great men this week, though, as Richard Moore - the former cyclist turned journalist - died suddenly at the age of 49.

His death - a day after he had been commenting on a race - rocked the cycling world.

Similar to Tom, Richard was loved around the world in his sport.

To everyone who met him, every photo of Richard shows him smiling as he lived with a great passion and always came across as a genuinely nice guy.

One of the best things about sport is the friendships that are made and even after you finish competing these friendships last a life time. 

I learned this week that how important it is to make time to tell those mates how much they mean to you.

I was speaking with someone who was a close friend to Richard when they told me that they never got the chance to tell him what he meant to him. 

This sat deeply with me and it is something I think of often when I am sat in hospital. 

I must do better at staying in touch with friends and also letting them know how they have impacted my life. 

I like many this week have reflected on both these great men, and what they brought to not just the world of sport but how they impacted the world in a positive way. RIP Tom Smith and Richard Moore.