Edinburgh Rugby

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Edinburgh Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby logo.jpg
Founded 1872; 143 years ago (1872)[a]
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Ground(s) Murrayfield Stadium
Chairman John Davidson[1]
CEO Jon Petrie
Coach(es) Alan Solomons
Captain(s) Mike Coman
Most caps Allan Jacobsen
Top scorer Chris Paterson (783)
Most tries Tim Visser (60)
League(s) Pro12
2014–15 8th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
Rugby current event.svg Current season

Edinburgh Rugby (formerly Edinburgh Reivers, Edinburgh Gunners) is one of the two professional rugby teams from Scotland. The club competes in the Pro12, along with Glasgow Warriors, its oldest rival. Edinburgh currently plays its home games at Murrayfield Stadium.

The original Edinburgh district team played the first ever inter-district match against Glasgow in 1872, winning the match 3–0. The team was reformed in 1996 to compete in the Heineken Cup, its best performance coming in the 2011–12 season, when the club reached the semi-final but lost narrowly to Ulster, 22–19. The quarter-final tie against Toulouse attracted a club record crowd of over 38,000 spectators to Murrayfield. In 2003–04 Edinburgh became the first Scottish team to reach the quarter-finals.[2][3][4]

In 2014-15 Edinburgh became the first Scottish club to reach a major European final, when they met Gloucester Rugby in the European Rugby Challenge Cup showpiece at Twickenham Stoop in London.


Edinburgh District played in the world's first ever inter-district match, against Glasgow, in 1872.[5]

Professional era establishment: 1996[edit]

Following the introduction of professional rugby in 1995, the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) considered that Scottish club sides would not be able to compete against the best teams from France and England. The SRU therefore decided that the four district teams were to be Scotland's vehicle for professional rugby and in 1996 the Edinburgh District team was reformed as Edinburgh Rugby to compete in the Heineken Cup. Because of the SRU's significant debt, partly as a result of the redevelopment of Murrayfield Stadium, further reorganisation soon became necessary and the four professional sides were reduced to two. After two seasons as Edinburgh Rugby, the club was merged with Border Reivers to form a new team known as Edinburgh Reivers.

For the 1999 and 2000 seasons the Scottish Rugby Union and Welsh Rugby Union joined forces, with the expansion of the Welsh Premier Division to include Edinburgh Reivers and Glasgow Caledonians, under the name Welsh-Scottish League. However, further change was imminent and in 2001 an agreement was made between the Irish Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union and Welsh Rugby Union to create a new competition which would bring in the four Irish provinces. 2001 would see the first incarnation of the Celtic League. In that inaugural season Edinburgh finished in sixth place.

The following season, to coincide with the re-establishment of the Border Reivers, a Scottish League competition modelled on the Tri-Nations was introduced alongside the Celtic League, however this survived for only a single season, Edinburgh becoming the only champions.

Following the reduction of Scotland's professional structure from four to two sides, a further rebranding took place. The Edinburgh Reivers name was replaced by Edinburgh Rugby, with the Glasgow Caledonians undergoing a similar renaming process, as part of a "major revamp"[6] of the professional structure in Scotland.

In the 2003–04 season the team found some success, when it reached the Final of the inaugural Celtic Cup, beating Cardiff Blues and Connacht en route in the quarter-finals[7] and semi-finals[8] respectively. The team's good run came to an end in the Final, however, with a 21–27 loss to Ulster, at Murrayfield. David Humphreys kicked 17 points in the match to earn the Irish province the trophy[9]

For the 2005–06 season, the Edinburgh team found itself looking for a new coach after the departure of Frank Hadden to coach Scotland.[10] Sean Lineen, then Glasgow Warriors assistant coach, was linked with the post[11] before Todd Blackadder acquired the position for the season[12] after a spell as interim coach.[13] During the same season the team nickname was incorporated into the official name, which became the Edinburgh Gunners. The term “Gunners” was dropped on 29 September 2006, after the club had become Scottish rugby's first private franchise during the summer. The team name reverted to Edinburgh Rugby. One reason for the change was that the name The Gunners was already a registered Trademark of Arsenal Football Club.[5] Another reason was the wish of the new owners for a re-branding, including a different name and the introduction of a new logo.

Private Ownership: 2006–07[edit]

Logo for 2006–07 Celtic League season

Scotland's first private franchise: 2006[edit]

In 2006, it was announced that from the end of the 2005–06 season, Edinburgh would become a franchise. Finance would come from a private company headed by businessmen Alex and Bob Carruthers.[14] This was thought to be a saving grace for Border Reivers. The team was thought to be the favourite to be folded, after the Scottish Rugby Union warned that funding problems could force it to scrap one of its Celtic League sides.[15] The SRU was to retain a seat on the new company board and continue to provide development funding and support to the new owners.[14] Following the departure of Todd Blackadder to join the Crusaders coaching setup in Super Rugby, Lynn Howells was appointed as head coach by Edinburgh's new Executive Chairman, Alex Carruthers.[16]

Funding dispute & return to SRU: 2007[edit]

In July 2007, a dispute arose between the Scottish Rugby Union and the owners of the newly franchised Edinburgh team. According to owner Bob Carruthers the SRU owed Edinburgh a six-figure sum which, he said, had not been paid. Carruthers also claimed that SRU had threatened to withdraw funding should Edinburgh continue with legal action relating to the sum.[17] During the dispute, Alex Carruthers resigned along with then Managing Director Graeme Stirling.[18] The dispute caused much disruption in Scottish rugby at the time, leading to the temporary withdrawal of 12 players from the Scotland squad training for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. This included leading players such as Chris Paterson and Mike Blair[18]

The dispute escalated when, on 9 July 2007, Edinburgh revoked its associate membership of the SRU.[19] This led to doubts about Edinburgh Rugby's ability to fulfil fixtures in the Celtic League and Heineken Cup and, whether or not Edinburgh players were insured for playing at club level. The resignation was withdrawn on 12 July, with Bob Carruthers being quoted as asking to "talk directly to someone" and insisting that the proposed signing of Australia stand-off Stephen Larkham would go ahead.[20] Despite this, the dispute continued, with each party initiating legal action against the other.[21][22] The situation was resolved in August 2007, with the termination of the franchise agreement and the return of Edinburgh to the direct control of the SRU.[23]

Under Andy Robinson: 2007–09[edit]

Edinburgh playing against Munster at Murrayfield Stadium in the 2007–08 Celtic League

Following the return to SRU control, the club coach Lynn Howells was dismissed. The SRU's Head of Player Development was appointed interim coach and Nic Cartwright was appointed as Chief Executive.[23] Former British and Irish Lions captain Gavin Hastings was subsequently appointed as Chairman,[24] stating his "desire and passion to see this game and this club grow". The proposed signing of Stephen Larkham fell through after the SRU was unable to honour the terms of the agreement.[25] This was seen as a disappointment, because the signing had been considered a coup for the beleaguered SRU when it was initially announced.[26]

Following an application process,[27] it was announced on 1 October 2007 that Andy Robinson, the former England head coach, would become the club's new head coach.[28] Edinburgh showed progress under Robinson and performed well at home in the Heineken Cup, posting wins against Leinster[29] and Leicester Tigers[30] and a narrow loss to Toulouse, earning a bonus point.[31] Following disappointing performances by Scotland in the 6 Nations, and Robinson co-coaching Scotland A,[32] there were rumours of Robinson taking a post within the Scotland set-up after helping Edinburgh to climb to 3rd in the Celtic League.[33][34] This progress, however, was counter-pointed by some disappointing results including being shutout by Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield[35] and losing the 1872 Challenge Cup on aggregate to rivals Glasgow Warriors.[36]

On 26 December 2008, a new home record attendance of 12,534 saw the game against Glasgow Warriors.[37] In the 2008–09 season Edinburgh reached their highest position finishing in second place behind Munster.

Andy Robinson left in 2009 to take up the position of head coach of the Scottish national side. Rob Moffat took over at Edinburgh. Michael Bradley was the new manager from 2011–12.

Under Michael Bradley: 2011–13[edit]

Michael Bradley took over in the summer of 2011 on a two-year contract.[citation needed]

The 2011–12 season saw the introduction of several young players into the squad including début seasons for 21-year olds Matt Scott and Grant Gilchrist, 19-year-old Harry Leonard and first full seasons for back three players Tom Brown and Lee Jones plus the back row pair Stuart McInally and David Denton. Most of these players would become regular starters for the club and Jones, Brown, Scott, Gilchrist and Denton were destined for international honours. Domestically the season was not a success, with only 6 league wins out of 22 games, but the 2011–12 Heineken Cup campaign proved to be the most successful in the club's history when it topped Pool 2, including a remarkable home victory against Racing Métro by 48-47[38] and setting up a quarter final against French rugby giants Toulouse by scoring 4 tries against London Irish. The game against Toulouse in April 2012, was played before a new club record crowd of 38,887 and was closely contested, with Edinburgh holding out for a 19–14 win thanks to an early try from Mike Blair and penalties from captain Greig Laidlaw, setting up a semi-final in Dublin against Ulster. The semi-final was a close match but Ulster triumphed 22-19.

The 2012–13 season started with much expectation after the strengthening of the squad through the additions of WP Nel, John Yapp, Richie Rees, Dimitri Basilaia, Ben Atiga, Greig Tonks, Izak van der Westhuizen, and Andy Titterrell. These arrivals were however tempered by the loss of experienced internationals: Mike Blair, Chris Paterson, Jim Thompson, Alan MacDonald, Esteban Lozada and Phil Godman. However, after another poor start to the Pro12 League, Edinburgh was then beaten 0-45 by Saracens at Murrayfield Stadium in the first round of Heineken Cup matches. This was followed by another high-scoring defeat when the team lost 33–0 to Munster Rugby at Thomond Park.

Following increasingly disappointing results and performances in the Pro12 league it was announced in February 2013 that Edinburgh would not be renewing Bradley's contract at the end of the season along with defence coach Billy McGinty. McGinty chose to leave his position with immediate effect with Bradley overseaing the defence until the end of the season. However, in a surprise move just a month later on 6 March 2013 Edinburgh announced that both Bradley and forwards coach Neil Back were being removed with immediate effect and coaches Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge would take over until the end of the season.

In his final year to early March 2013 the Club lost all six matches in the Heineken Cup and recorded four league victories all season in the Pro12 against Cardiff, Zebre, Connacht and the Ospreys. It should also be noted that Edinburgh Rugby accumulated seven losing bonus points in this period highlighting the need for minor adjustments to change the sides fortunes on the pitch.

In the remaining five matches on the season Edinburgh won three, recording victories against Ulster, Zebre and Gwent Dragons to finish the season in 10th place in the Pro12 one place higher than the 2011–12 season.

Under Alan Solomons: 2013–[edit]

Alan Solomons, formerly the coach of Western Province, Stormers, Ulster and more recently Super Rugby team the Kings, was appointed as Head Coach at the end of July 2013.[39] Stevie Scott and Omar Mouneimne were appointed as Assistant Coaches.

Solomons' first season at the club was treated largely as a rebuilding period, with several players departing and replacements coming in. The league campaign culminated in an eighth-place finish.[40]

2014–15 saw Edinburgh again finishing eighth, albeit with ten points and three victories more than the previous season. While the pre-season target of a top six finish wasn't achieved, there were other reasons to consider the campaign a success. The first came over the festive period when the team beat Glasgow Warriors over two legs to win the inter-city 1872 Cup for the first time in six seasons. After going down 16-6 in the first encounter at Scotstoun Stadium, the Murrayfield men turned the tables with a 20-8 victory in the return leg, with Tim Visser notching two first-half tries, to bring the trophy back to the capital for the first time since 2009. As the season reached its final stages, Edinburgh's excellent European form took them to within touching distance of more silverware.

European Rugby Challenge Cup 2014–15[edit]

By finishing top of their European Rugby Challenge Cup group (containing the French Top 14 pair Lyon and Bordeaux as well as English Premiership team London Welsh) they progressed to the knockout stage, where they were seeded fifth. They went on to beat fourth seed London Irish 18-23 in the quarter finals at the Madejski Stadium. In the semi-finals they thrashed the Newport Gwent Dragons an impressive 45-16 in front of a home crowd of over 8,000 at Murrayfield, making them the first Scottish team to ever reach a European final. They faced Gloucester in the final at the Twickenham Stoop on the 2nd of May, losing 19-13.[41]


In August 2015, Edinburgh played a pair of exhibition matches and won both. They first defeated Romania's Rugby World Cup side 31-16, with Roddy Grant scoring a hat-trick of tries.[42] They then defeated Ireland's Ulster team 23-10.[43]

Current standings[edit]

2015–16 Pro12 watch · edit · discuss
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Diff Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Ireland Connacht 8 7 0 1 217 158 +59 25 18 3 1 32
2 Wales Scarlets 8 7 0 1 168 112 +56 17 13 1 1 30
3 Ireland Munster 8 6 0 2 178 164 +14 20 13 2 2 28
4 Ireland Leinster 8 6 0 2 160 108 +52 16 10 2 1 27
5 Scotland Glasgow Warriors 8 5 0 3 190 164 +26 20 15 3 3 26
6 Scotland Edinburgh 8 5 0 3 145 114 +31 14 7 1 2 23
7 Ireland Ulster 8 4 0 4 172 120 +52 23 10 4 3 23
8 Wales Ospreys 8 3 0 5 142 151 −9 13 17 1 2 15
9 Wales Newport Gwent Dragons 8 2 0 6 123 183 −60 10 20 0 2 10
10 Wales Cardiff Blues 8 1 0 7 202 205 −3 23 26 2 4 10
11 Italy Zebre 8 2 0 6 96 210 −114 11 29 1 0 9
12 Italy Benetton Treviso 8 0 0 8 106 210 −104 10 24 0 5 5

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:[44]

  1. number of matches won;
  2. the difference between points for and points against;
  3. the number of tries scored;
  4. the most points scored;
  5. the difference between tries for and tries against;
  6. the fewest number of red cards received;
  7. the fewest number of yellow cards received.

Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places, and earn a place in the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background indicates teams outside the play-off places, that earn a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
To facilitate the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there will be no play-offs for the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup with the 20th place going to the winner of the 2015–16 European Rugby Challenge Cup if not already qualified.
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2016–17 European Rugby Challenge Cup


  • 1872 Cup
    • Winners: (2008-09), (2014-15)

Current squad[edit]

For player movements leading up to the 2015–16 season, see List of 2015–16 Pro12 transfers#Edinburgh.

2015-16 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Neil Cochrane Hooker Scotland Scotland
Ross Ford Hooker Scotland Scotland
Stuart McInally Hooker Scotland Scotland
George Turner Hooker Scotland Scotland
John Andress Prop Ireland Ireland
Craig Bachurzewski WCC Prop Poland Poland
Simon Berghan* Prop New Zealand New Zealand
Allan Dell* Prop South Africa South Africa
Alasdair Dickinson Prop Scotland Scotland
Rory Sutherland Prop Scotland Scotland
Grant Shiells Prop Scotland Scotland
WP Nel Prop Scotland Scotland
Anton Bresler Lock Namibia Namibia
Grant Gilchrist Lock Scotland Scotland
Fraser McKenzie Lock Scotland Scotland
Alex Toolis* Lock Australia Australia
Ben Toolis Lock Scotland Scotland
Mike Coman (c) Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Cornell du Preez Flanker South Africa South Africa
Roddy Grant Flanker Scotland Scotland
John Hardie Flanker Scotland Scotland
Jamie Ritchie Flanker Scotland Scotland
Hamish Watson Flanker Scotland Scotland
Magnus Bradbury Number 8 Scotland Scotland
Nasi Manu Number 8 New Zealand New Zealand
Player Position Union
Nathan Fowles* Scrum-half England England
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Sean Kennedy Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Murdo McAndrew WCC Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Blair Kinghorn Fly-half Scotland Scotland
Jade Te Rure* Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Greig Tonks Fly-half Scotland Scotland
Sam Beard Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Phil Burleigh Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Chris Dean Centre Scotland Scotland
Matt Scott Centre Scotland Scotland
Andries Strauss Centre South Africa South Africa
Michael Allen Centre Ireland Ireland
James Johnstone WCC Centre Scotland Scotland
Dougie Fife Wing Scotland Scotland
Will Helu Wing Tonga Tonga
Damien Hoyland Wing Scotland Scotland
Otulea Katoa WCC Wing Tonga Tonga
Tom Brown Fullback Scotland Scotland
Jack Cuthbert Fullback Scotland Scotland
Nick McLennan* Fullback New Zealand New Zealand
  • Players qualified to play for Scotland on dual nationality or residency grounds*.
  • Senior 15's internationally capped players in bold.

Edinburgh will have access to the stage 3 Scottish Rugby Academy players. The players for 2015/16 season have yet to be assigned.

Former players and present and past coaches[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

Former players who have played for Edinburgh and have more than 20 caps for their respective country.



Heineken Cup / Rugby Champions Cup[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Lost Drawn Source
1996–97 Pools 4 0 4 0 [45]
1998–99 Pools 6 2 3 1 [46]
1999–2000 Pools 6 3 3 0 [47]
2000–01 Pools 6 3 2 1 [48]
2001–02 Pools 6 1 4 1 [49]
2002–03 Pools 6 2 4 0 [50]
2003–04 QFs 7 5 2 0 [51]
2004–05 Pools 6 1 5 0 [52]
2005–06 Pools 6 2 4 0 [53]
2006–07 Pools 6 1 5 0 [54]
2007–08 Pools 6 2 4 0 [55]
2008–09 Pools 6 2 4 0 [56]
2009–10 Pools 6 3 3 0 [57]
2010–11 Pools 6 1 5 0 [57]
2011–12 SF 8 6 2 0 [57]
2012–13 Pools 6 0 6 0 [57]
2013–14 Pools 6 3 3 0 [57]

European Challenge Cup / Rugby Challenge Cup[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Lost Drawn Source
1997–98 Pools 6 2 4 0 [58]
2014–15 Pools 6 5 0 1
Quarter-final London Irish 18 – 23 Edinburgh
Semi-final Edinburgh 45 – 16 Newport Gwent Dragons
Final Edinburgh 13 – 19 Gloucester

Celtic League/Pro12[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Lost Drawn
2001–02 Pools 6 2 4 0
2002–03 QFs 8 6 2 0
2003–04 10th 22 9 13 0
2004–05 7th 20 9 11 0
2005–06 5th 20 11 9 0
2006–07 8th 20 8 11 1
2007–08 4th 18 9 6 3
2008–09 2nd 18 11 7 0
2009–10 6th 18 8 10 0
2010–11 8th 22 8 13 0
2011–12 11th 22 6 15 1
2012–13 10th 22 7 15 0
2013–14 8th 22 7 15 0
2014–15 8th 22 10 11 1

Scottish League[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Lost Drawn
2002–03 1st 8 5 2 1

Welsh/Scottish League[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Lost Drawn
1999–2000 8th 22 10 11 1
2000–01 8th 22 11 11 0
2001–02 6th 20 10 8 2

Edinburgh and District[edit]

The BT Premiership is the premier club competition over the Edinburgh region. The district includes clubs from the City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian.

Currently four district clubs compete at the top level of amateur rugby in Scotland.

National leagues[edit]

BT National League is an amateur league competition for rugby union clubs in Scotland. It forms the 2nd tier of the Scottish League Championship.

East leagues[edit]

The East leagues cover the Edinburgh & District and the Scottish Borders area. They play at a level below that of the National Leagues structure. Winners of the league may progress to the National League.

The Clubs[edit]

Edinburgh and District consists of 32 clubs.

City of Edinburgh[edit]

There are 20 clubs in the City of Edinburgh.

East Lothian[edit]

There are 6 clubs in East Lothian.

West Lothian[edit]

There are 3 clubs in West Lothian.


There are 3 clubs in Midlothian.


  1. ^ The original Edinburgh district side dates to 1872
  2. ^ Although Murrayfield's full capacity is 67,800, only the lower section of the West Stand, with a capacity of 12,464, is generally opened for Edinburgh fixtures.
  3. ^ Formerly known as European Challenge Cup
  4. ^ Formerly known as Celtic League / Magners League


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  2. ^ http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/13_5538.php?section=4
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  4. ^ "Edinburgh aim for European repeat". BBC News. 17 October 2004. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
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  34. ^ "Edinburgh 35–31 Glasgow". BBC News. 28 December 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  35. ^ "Edinburgh 0–20 Blues". BBC News. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
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  38. ^ "ERC : Match Centre : Heineken Cup : Edinburgh win sensational Murrayfield battle". Ercrugby.com. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
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  40. ^ http://www.scottishrugby.org/rabodirect-pro12-1314-table
  41. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/may/01/edinburgh-gloucester-european-challenge-cup-final-match-report
  42. ^ Edinburgh 31 Romania 16: Grant leads the way in impressive victory
  43. ^ Edinburgh takes the glory in Ulster friendly
  44. ^ Competition Rule 3.5 "Summary of Key Rules". Pro12. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
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  46. ^ "Heineken Cup 1998/9". BBC News. 12 April 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
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  48. ^ "Heineken Cup 2000/1". BBC News. 9 June 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  49. ^ "Heineken Cup 2001/2". BBC News. 9 June 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  50. ^ "Heineken Cup 2002/3". BBC News. 26 May 2003. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  51. ^ "Heineken Cup 2003/4". BBC News. 1 February 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  52. ^ "Heineken Cup 2004/5". BBC News. 24 April 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  53. ^ "Heineken Cup 2005/6". BBC News. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  54. ^ "Heineken Cup 2006/7". BBC News. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  55. ^ "Cup Tables". BBC News. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  56. ^ "Heineken Cup 2008/9". BBC News. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  57. ^ a b c d e "Heineken Cup tables". BBC News. 9 August 2006. 
  58. ^ "European Challenge Cup 1997/8". BBC News. 13 April 2004. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 

External links[edit]