Spence McTavish's high level of performances and record during his rugby career as a club, sub-union, provincial, and national team player is without doubt. After a stellar career at UBC, he was a founding member of the UBC Old Boys for whom he played and later coached. All the while, he always coached at Lord Byng Secondary School. Having not yet been selected for BC in 1970, he was chosen to represent Canada against Fiji and by 1987 had become both BC's and Canada's
longest serving player of international standing. He scored a try in his first game and seventeen years later was in the lineup for two of Canada's three appearances in the first Rugby World Cup. When long hair was in vogue, McTavish was a favourite with spectators who were thrilled by the sight of the wing three-quarter with long, blond hair streaking for the corner to score a try.
McTavish's 22 international appearances for Canada (1970 to 1987) were remarkable considering only one other Canadian player has had the equivalent longevity on the national team. His ability as a leader was verified by his captaincy for two of the four overseas tours made by Canada. On the 1979 Wales, England, France tour, he played in all six games and was captain for two. McTavish's talent was recognized overseas by his selection in 1976 to an Overseas XV against Cardiff.
In 1973 he received the Bobby Gaul Award as UBC's outstanding male athlete and in 1976 was awarded the VRU's Howie McPhee Trophy for playing ability, sportsmanship, and leadership. From 1971 to 1986 he was on the BC team that competed in the Canadian final most of the time.
McTavish's record in the fifteen-a-side game almost parallels his exploits in the seven-a-side version of the game. During his three years at the HK 7's, he was always the captain. From 1994 to1998, he returned to the game as a coach, preparing teams for international competitions, including Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup 7's.
Always a believer that one should lead by example, McTavish has provided ample evidence during his career for others to emulate in years to come. In the pre-professional era, he was a true professional with his high level of excellence during a remarkable career as an athlete.