Unlike many of his peers, Hamilton did not feature in age group teams in his development years. In fact, while at school at Christchurch Boys High School, Hamilton could not make his first XV, instead playing in the third XV. However, with his skill set, and at the end of the Crusaders and Canterbury backlines, it was considered by most rugby pundits to be a formality that he would eventually go on to higher honours – a point alluded to by his nickname FABSH (Future All Black Scott Hamilton). Indeed, it was a surprise to many that it took as long as it did for him to be named in the All Black squad for the first time. He was named in the All Blacks squad to play Ireland. All Blacks coach Graham Henry said of Hamilton's All Black selection, "We like the way he anticipates, he's got a good feel for the game in the back three. He reads the play well. He's got a huge work rate and he's deserved of selection".
Due to an injury to All Black wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, Hamilton was promoted from the bench of the 2006 mid year series against Ireland, to the starting 15 for the Argentina test. This was Hamilton's All Black début, and he celebrated it by scoring a match winning try in the second half.
Hamilton signed a contract with Leicester Tigers in 2008.