Scotland national rugby union team
|Union||Scottish Rugby Union|
|Most caps||Chris Paterson (109)|
|Top scorer||Chris Paterson (809)|
|Most tries||Ian Smith, Tony Stanger (24)|
|(also the world's first)
Scotland 1 – 0 England
(27 March 1871)
| Scotland 100 – 8 Japan
(13 November 2004)
| Scotland 10 – 68 South Africa
(6 December 1997)
|Appearances||7/7 (First in 1987)|
|Best result||4th, 1991|
The Scotland national rugby union team represents Scotland in international rugby union. Rugby union in Scotland is administered by the Scottish Rugby Union. The team takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship and participates in the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years. As of 12 January 2015, Scotland are eighth in the World Rugby Rankings.
The Scottish rugby team dates back to 1871, where they beat England in the first international rugby union match at Raeburn Place. Scotland competed in the Five Nations from the inaugural tournament in 1883, winning it 14 times outright—including the last ever Five Nations in 1999—and sharing it another 8. In 2000 the competition accepted a sixth competitor, Italy, thus forming the Six Nations. Since this change, Scotland have yet to win the competition. The Rugby World Cup was introduced in 1987 and Scotland have competed in all seven competitions, the most recent being in 2011. Scotland's best finish came in 1991, where they lost to the All Blacks in the third place play-off.
Scotland have a strong rivalry with the English national team. They both annually compete for the Calcutta Cup. Each year, this fixture is played out as part of the Six Nations. England are the current holders after defeating Scotland 13–6 at Murrayfield in the 2012 Six Nations and maintaining it in the 2013 and 2014 championship.
- 1 History
- 2 Thistle and the anthem
- 3 Strip
- 4 Record
- 5 Players
- 6 Coaches
- 7 See also
- 8 Sources
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Scots issue a challenge
The newspaper notice advertising the very first rugby international match – inconspicuous by being slotted in between other items. (From The Scotsman, 27 March 1871) In December 1870 a group of Scots players issued a letter of challenge in The Scotsman and in Bell's Life in London, to play an England XX at the carrying game. The English could hardly ignore such a challenge and this led to the first-ever rugby international match being played at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, on Monday 27 March 1871. The Scots won the encounter by a try (made by Angus Buchanan) and a goal (made by William Cross) to a solitary try scored by England (a points scoring system had not then been devised so only the goal counted towards the 1–0 score). England later got revenge at the Kennington Oval, London in the following year. (See the library of the Scottish Rugby Union for details.)
The Scots enjoyed periodic success in the early days vying with Wales in the first decade of the 20th century. However, their Triple Crown win in 1907 would be the last for eighteen years as the First World War (1914–18) and England intervened to deny them glory.
In 1897 land was purchased, by the SFU, at Inverleith, Edinburgh. Thus the SFU became the first of the Home Unions to own its own ground. The first visitors were Ireland, on 18 February 1899 (Scotland 3 Ireland 9). International rugby was played at Inverleith until 1925. The SFU bought some land and built the first Murrayfield Stadium which was opened on 21 March 1925.
The Calcutta Cup
The Calcutta Cup was donated to the Rugby Football Union in 1878 by the members of the short-lived Calcutta Rugby Club. The members had decided to disband: the cup was crafted from melted-down silver rupees which became available when the Club's funds were withdrawn from the bank. The Cup is unique in that it is competed for annually only by England and Scotland. The first Calcutta Cup match was played in 1879 and, since that time, over 100 matches have taken place.
In 1925 Scotland already had victories over France at Inverleith (25–4), Wales in Swansea (24–14) and Ireland in Dublin (14–8). England, the Grand Slam champions of the two previous seasons were the first visitors to Murrayfield. 70,000 spectators saw the lead change hands three times before Scotland secured a 14–11 victory which gave them their first-ever Five Nations Grand Slam.
In 1926, Scotland became the first Home nation side to defeat England at Twickenham after England had won the Grand Slam five times in eight seasons.
The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 brought rugby union in Scotland to a halt. The SRU cancelled all arranged trial and international matches and encouraged the member clubs to carry on as best they could. Some clubs closed down, others amalgamated and carried on playing other local clubs and, sometimes, teams from the armed forces stationed in their various areas.
Official internationals resumed in the 1946–47 season. In the Spring of 1946, Scotland played and defeated a strong New Zealand and Forces team.
The period after World War Two was not a successful one for Scotland. In 1951, the touring Springboks massacred Scotland 44–0 scoring nine tries, a then record defeat. Scotland suffered 17 successive defeats between February 1951 and February 1955, scored only 54 points in these 17 games: 11 tries, six conversions, and four penalties.
The teams from 1955–63 were an improvement. There were no wins over England, but three of the games were drawn and only twice was the margin of defeat more than a single score. 1964 was a good year for Scotland. New Zealand were held to a 0–0 draw, the last international match in which no points were scored. The Calcutta Cup was won 15–6, the first time since 1950 and they shared the Five Nations title in 1964 with Wales.
In 1971 the SRU appointed Bill Dickinson as their head coach, after years of avoidance, as it was their belief that rugby should remain an amateur sport. He was officially designated as an "adviser to the captain".
Scotland were the first of the Home Unions to run a truly nationwide club league. This was introduced in 1973 and still flourishes today with several of the country's original clubs still very much in evidence, such as Heriots, West of Scotland, Watsonians and the famous 'border' clubs such as Gala, Hawick, Jed-Forest, Kelso and Melrose. However the advent of professionalism saw Scotland's District championship abandoned and two 'Super Districts' formed, which have resulted in the top players generally being unavailable for their clubs. These teams play in international club competitions such as the Heineken Cup and the Pro12.
Jim Telfer became national coach in 1980.
Scotland toured Australia in 1982 and won the first test, Scotland's first away victory against any of the big three Southern Hemisphere sides. After this, the 1983 season was a disappointment, with only one victory at Twickenham in the last match.
The 1983–84 season brought a draw with the All Blacks 25–25 in the late autumn and their second Grand Slam captained by Jim Aitken. Jim Telfer stood down after the Grand Slam to concentrate on his professional career as a school master. He was succeeded by his assistant, the former Hawick fly-half, Colin Telfer.
Scotland went to the first World Cup, played in New Zealand and Australia in the summer of 1987. Rutherford, the team's general and controlling influence, had injured his knee on an unauthorised tour of Bermuda. He broke down after less than a quarter of an hour of the first World Cup match against France and never played for Scotland again. Scotland had been in the lead but the match finished level. Scotland lost to New Zealand in the quarter-final.
Their greatest year in the modern era was 1990, when captained by prop David Sole, their season came down to one game, a Grand Slam decider at Murrayfield against the "auld enemy" and favourites, England. Scotland won 13–7, and with it their third Grand Slam.
The second World Cup took place in 1991 with matches shared between the Five Nations. Scotland won their pool, though the game against Ireland was close, and then beat Western Samoa in the quarter-final. They lost to England in the semi-final held at Murrayfield to a Rob Andrew drop goal. In the third place play-off they were beaten by New Zealand.
The third World Cup, held in South Africa, came in 1995. Pool play saw a narrow defeat by France, thanks to an injury-time try, and Scotland finished second in the pool. They were eliminated in the quarter-final against New Zealand.
Scotland won the last-ever Five Nations Championship in 1999 with a last minute win by Wales over England. But the 1999 World Cup ended the usual way, with a quarter-final defeat by New Zealand.
Scotland endured a torrid Six Nations in 2000, losing their first four straight games. Nevertheless at the last hurdle, they pulled off a magnificent 19–13 win under captain Andy Nicol over England at Murrayfield.
After a poor start in the Six Nations 2003–04 in which Scotland did not win a single match and so qualified for the wooden spoon, Scotland were under the Australian coach Matt Williams, the first foreigner to coach the national team.
The record for 2004 was disappointing: Won 2, Lost 10. Williams attempted to introduce a controversial "Fortress Scotland" policy, whereby only those currently playing in Scotland were eligible to play in the national team. Meanwhile the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) came under new management, chief executive Phil Anderton (known as 'Firework Phil' for his pre-match entertainment spectacles) was leading the way back to financial solvency and implementing major reforms to reverse the decline of the game in Scotland, but he resigned in January 2005 after his boss David Mackay was forced to resign by the SRU's general committee.
Frank Hadden, the head coach of Edinburgh Gunners, was appointed interim coach for the 2005 summer internationals against the Barbarians and Romania, winning both. On 15 September 2005, he was appointed national coach of the Scotland team.
In the first match of the 2006 Six Nations campaign, against France, Scotland won 20–16, and this was the first time since 1999 that they had beaten France. Scotland also beat England 18–12 at home at Murrayfield to reclaim the Calcutta Cup. In the 2006 Autumn internationals Scotland won two of three fixtures. They convincingly beat Romania and put up a solid first half performance against the Pacific Islanders. In the final match against Australia, Scotland failed to impress, with Australia winning 44–15.
In 2007, Scotland became the first Six Nations team to lose at home to Italy, 17–37. This was Italy's biggest ever victory over Scotland, home or away. Later that year, the side travelled to France for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. They made their way through their group and reached the quarter finals, where they were knocked out by Argentina.
Scotland opened their 2008 Six Nations campaign losing 27–6 to France at home. Pressure on Frank Hadden started to intensify after Scotland lost to Wales and then to Ireland. They then defeated England in the Calcutta Cup with a 15–9 victory before succumbing to Italy, avoiding the wooden spoon only on scoring difference. They then toured Argentina in the summer to play two tests against Argentina. They lost the first test 21–15, and won the second 26–14.
In the 2009 Six Nations campaign, Scotland won just one match for a second consecutive year (against Italy) and thus, on 2 April 2009 Frank Hadden vacated the head coach position of the national side. On 4 June 2009, ex-England, Edinburgh and Bath coach Andy Robinson was named head coach in time for the 2009 Autumn Internationals. Scotland's form picked up with a 23–10 victory over Fiji and a memorable 9–8 win against Australia (the first win over the Wallabies for 27 years) at Murrayfield.
In the 2010 Six Nations Scotland lost against France, Wales and Italy before drawing with England. Against Ireland, in the final rugby match at Croke Park, Scotland gained their only win of the tournament 23–20 with a last-minute penalty by Dan Parks, denying the Irish the Triple Crown and assuring they themselves would avoid the wooden spoon. That summer, Scotland toured Argentina and recorded their first ever away series victory, beating the Pumas in both tests, 24–16 and 13–9. In the Autumn Internationals of 2010, Scotland lost against New Zealand before recording victories against South Africa, 21–17, and Samoa, 19–16.
Scotland had a poor showing in the 2011 Six Nations, winning just one match, a 21–8 victory over Italy, while failing to score tries in three matches. In the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Scotland struggled to beat Romania 34–24 and Georgia 15–6, before losing 13–12 to Argentina. Needing a win going into their final match against England in Auckland, they led 12–3 with a quarter of the game to go, only to lose out to a Chris Ashton try, going down 16–12. This was the first time Scotland had been knocked out in the group stages of the Rugby World Cup.
Scotland were terrible during the 2012 Six Nations, picking up the wooden spoon and being whitewashed, despite promising moments, and falling to 12th, Scotland's lowest ever in the IRB rankings. Even after this whitewash, Scotland defeated Australia 9–6 in the 2012 Scotland rugby union tour of Australia, Fiji and Samoa. This was Scotland's first win in Australia since 1982 and the first time in 30 years that Scotland defeated Australia more than once in a row. Scotland also recorded away wins over both Fiji and Samoa. During Scotland's 2012 Autumn Tests they suffered a series of defeats, versus the All Blacks, South Africa and most notably Tonga, which caused head coach Andy Robinson to resign. Scott Johnson became interim Head Coach for the team in December 2012.
During the 2013 Six Nations, Scotland won their matches against Italy and Ireland to finish third, their best finish in the competition since 2006. On 3 May 2013, Johnson was named the first ever Director of Rugby for Scotland responsible for overseeing all rugby in the nation. On 27 May 2013, it was announced that Vern Cotter would become head coach of Scotland, but the SRU would have to wait until 2014 as his current club Clermont failed to reach an agreement with the SRU to release Cotter a year early of his contract.
In the 2014 Six Nations, Scotland were hammered by Wales 51–3, but managed to win an away game against Italy. In June of the same year, Scotland won three tests against the top teams of the Americas, before being hammered by South Africa 55–6.
Thistle and the anthem
The thistle is the national flower, and also the symbol of the Scotland national rugby union team. According to legend the "guardian thistle" has played its part in the defence of Scotland against a night attack by Norwegian Vikings, one of whom let out a yell of pain when he stepped barefoot on a thistle, alerting the Scottish defenders. The Latin Nemo me impune lacessit ("No-one provokes me with impunity!" in English) is an ancient motto of the Kings of Scotland, and also of Scotland's premier chivalric order, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and of the Scots Guards (the latter both "belonging" to the monarch).
"Flower of Scotland" has been used since 1990 as Scotland's unofficial national anthem. It was written by Roy Williamson of The Corries in 1967, and adopted by the SRU to replace "God Save the Queen". In the first year of using "Flower of Scotland" as an anthem, Scotland walked onto the pitch at the beginning of the Five Nations Championship deciding match against England. This combination was explosive and Scotland went on to beat England 13–7 and win the Five Nations Championship with a Grand Slam.
Scotland have traditionally worn navy blue jerseys, white shorts and blue socks. The team sponsor used to be The Famous Grouse, a brand of Scotch whisky whose logo is shown on the team jersey and shorts. In France, where alcohol sponsorship is banned by law, the regular logo was replaced with "TFG". On the occasion that Scotland is the home side and the opposing team normally wears dark colours, Scotland will use its change strip. Traditionally this is a white jersey with navy blue shorts and socks. For a brief period, when Cotton Oxford were the shirt sponsors, the white shirt was replaced by a bright orange one with orange and blue hoops on the sleeves. This was first used against the New Zealand Māori 14 November 1998. This change strip was replaced by the traditional white one just two years later. Also during this sponsorship deal, purple was introduced to the traditional blue jersey. This was a significant departure from the traditional colours of blue and white, although purple is inspired from the thistle flower.
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors
On 3 September 2007 it was announced that Rangers F.C. chairman Sir David Murray's company would become the new shirt sponsor, investing £2.7 million over the next three years. This came as The Famous Grouse ended its 17-year relationship with the team the month prior to this. The Famous Grouse however, have maintained a low profile link to the Scottish Rugby Union by becoming the main spirit sponsor. This deal is thought to be worth a tenth of the original cost and forbids the Scottish Rugby Union from affiliating itself from any other whisky manufacturer. In August 2011, the Royal Bank of Scotland took over as main sponsors of Scottish Rugby, after Sir David Murray's company decided to end their sponsorship.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|1991–94||Umbro||No shirt sponsor|
|1994–98||Pringle||The Famous Grouse|
|Top 25 Rankings as 1 December 2014|
|*Change from the previous week|
|Scotland's Historical Rankings|
|Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 6 October 2014|
Rugby Union Five Nations Championship Grand Slams (including Triple Crown): 1925, 1984, 1990.
Triple Crown: seven times winners.
Scotland was also the last Five Nations Champion in 1998–99. (The following year Italy joined the competition to make it the Six Nations.)
|Outright Wins (Shared Wins)|
|Home Nations||5 (4)||NA||4 (4)||NA||9 (2)||7 (4)|
|Five Nations||17 (6)||12 (8)||6 (5)||NA||5 (6)||15 (8)|
|Overall||26 (10)||17 (8)||12 (9)||0 (0)||14 (8)||26 (12)|
Scotland has competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987. Their best finish was fourth in 1991. In their semi-final on 26 October 1991 Scotland lost 6–9 to England at Murrayfield after Gavin Hastings missed a penalty almost in front of and a short distance from the posts. On 30 October Scotland lost the third-place play-off to New Zealand in Cardiff 13–6. Since then they have qualified for the quarter-finals in every tournament (except the most recent, 2011), but have not since qualified for the semi-finals.
|World Cup Results|
|1987||Pool 4||France||20–20||Scotland||Lancaster Park|
|1987||Pool 4||Scotland||60–21||Zimbabwe||Athletic Park|
|1987||Quarter-final||New Zealand||30–3||Scotland||Lancaster Park|
|1991||Third-place play-off||Scotland||6–13||New Zealand||Cardiff|
|1995||Pool D||Ivory Coast||0–89||Scotland||Rustenburg|
|1999||Pool 1||Scotland||29–46||South Africa||Murrayfield|
|2003||Pool B||Scotland||39–15||United States||Brisbane|
|2003||Pool B||Scotland||22–20||Fiji||Aussie Stadium|
|2007||Pool C||Scotland||0–40||New Zealand||Murrayfield|
|2007||Quarter-final||Argentina||19–13||Scotland||Stade de France|
Scotland achieved 100 points for the first time in defeating a young and inexperienced Japan side 100–8 on 13 November 2004. The previous record had been 89–0 against Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the first round of Rugby World Cup 1995. The game versus Japan was played at the home of St. Johnstone F.C., McDiarmid Park, Perth. It was the first time that Scotland had ever played "North of the Forth" (i.e. the Firth of Forth) in the Caledonian region. In the same game Chris Paterson moved ahead of Andy Irvine in the list of Scotland's all-time points scorers.
Their Test record against all nations, updated 22 November 2014:
Head Coach: Vern Cotter
- Caps updated 20 January 2015
Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the World Rugby.
Four former Scotland players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame:
- Gordon Brown
- Gavin Hastings, captain of the British Lions, full back
- Andy Irvine, full back, Scottish captain and British Lion
- Ian McGeechan
Before 1971, there was no appointed coach of the Scotland team, the role being assumed by the captain. In 1971, the SRU appointed the first coach as "adviser to the captain". He was Bill Dickinson, a lecturer at Jordanhill College, and his contribution to Scottish rugby in the 1970s was immense. Nairn McEwan took the reins in 1977 for three years before the team was led by Jim Telfer in 1980. Apart from 1985–88 when they were coached by Derrick Grant, Scotland was coached by either Telfer or Ian McGeechan until 2003 when the Australian Matt Williams was appointed. Scotland have appointed three foreign coaches to lead the national side, the others being the incumbent Scott Johnson, an Australian, and Andy Robinson, an Englishman. Robinson took the reins in 2009 after Frank Hadden stepped down. Robinson was no stranger to Scottish rugby as, like his predecessor Hadden, had been the head coach of Edinburgh Rugby and joint coach of Scotland A before being promoted head coach of the national side. Scott Johnson was Robinson's assistant coach when Robinson stood down in 2013, which ended in the result of Johnson being announced as Interim Head Coach for Scotland in 2013, taking the team through the 2013 Six Nations Championship and the 2013 South African Quadrangular Tournament. Vern Cotter was announced as Scottish Head coach but would not take up on the role until June 2014 as he 1 year left on his contract with Clermont Auvergne. This meant that Scott Johnson would remain as Interim Coach until the end of that year's Six Nations Championship.
|Scott Johnson (interim)||2012–14||16||5||0||11||31|
|Vern Cotter||2014 –||7||5||0||2||71|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2011)|
- HISTORY OF RUGBY IN OTHER COUNTRIES
- History of Scottish Rugby on the SRU website
- Allan Massie on the Scottish rugby team from about 1940 to 1990
- The age of Telfer by Allan Massie
- "World Rugby Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- Steve Jones, ed. (1983). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1983–84. p. 55. ISBN 0356097315.
- "Scotland appoint Scott Johnson as interim head coach for 6 Nations and South Africa tour.". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- Goodlad, Phil (3 May 2013). "Interim head coach Scott Johnson named director of rugby". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Cotter confirmed as new Scotland coach". Espn.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Capital quartet get first Scotland call
- Beattie added to Scotland squad
- "Scotland turn to Johnson". Espnscrum.com. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scotland national rugby union team.|
- Scotland Rugby Team – the official site of the Scotland national team
- Favourites find Scotland grit hard to swallow: Scotland 18 England 12, The Times, 27 February 2006
- Scottish Rugby Union – the official site of Scottish Rugby
- Scottish Rugby Radio
- Guide to Scottish Rugby (The Scotsman)
- A song for Scotland – an article on the ongoing discussions about which song should represent Scotland before international rugby and football games. (Sunday Times, 21 November 2004)