J. S. Thomson

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J.S. Thomson
Full name J.S. Thomson
Date of birth unknown[1]
Place of birth unknown[1]
Date of death unknown[1]
Place of death unknown[1]
School Glasgow Academy
University St Andrew's University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Forward
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Glasgow Academicals RFC
University of St Andrews RFC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1871 Scotland 1 (0)

J.S. Thomson was a rugby union international who represented Scotland in the first international rugby match in 1871.[1]

Early life[edit]

Little is known of J.S. Thomson's early life. He is recorded as having played for Glasgow Academicals in 1871[2][3][4][5] and 1872.[6] At that time the club did not have open membership and had only been formed three years previous as a club for old pupils of Glasgow Academy. The strong implication is that he therefore attended Glasgow Academy, and given this was not a boarding school, lived in Glasgow. Some records suggest he also played for St Andrews University[7][8] and therefore may have attended that university also.

Rugby union career[edit]

J.S. Thomson was selected to play in the first international rugby match in 1871 between Scotland and England. This was played on 27 March 1871 at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh and won by Scotland. Certain records for the match indicate that he played for Glasgow Academicals[2][3][4][5][6] at the time, whilst others suggest that he was a University of St Andrews RFC player.[7] It is possible that he was not exclusive to one or the other and therefore may have played for both.[8] In Francis Marshall's 1892 publication, Football; the Rugby union game, he is listed as playing for St Andrews as well, although on one occasion he is referred to as J Thompson in a picture of the 1871 Scotland side[9] and on another occasion he is referred to as W Thomson.[10]

In 1872 J S Thomson was also part of another historic first rugby encounter when he was selected as part of the representative side of Glasgow, to face a representative side from Edinburgh.[6] This was the inaugural inter-city match between Glasgow and Edinburgh, that today is known as the 1872 Cup and has the distinction of being the oldest inter-city rugby competition in the world.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile of J.S. Thomson at scrum.com
  2. ^ a b Rugbyfootballhistory.com Scotland
  3. ^ a b St Andrews Alumni rugby club
  4. ^ a b Allan Massie, A portrait of Scottish rugby, (Polygon), 1984
  5. ^ a b Glasgow (Scotland). Academy, The Glasgow academy: the first hundred years, (Pub. for the Glasgow academy by Blackie), 1946
  6. ^ a b c The balance inclines to the city possessing a successful and dominating club team. at Glasgow Hawks.com detailing the first 1872 Cup match
  7. ^ a b [E. H. D. Sewell, Rugby football up to date, (Hodder and Stoughton, limited), 1921
  8. ^ a b Glasgow Hawks records Thomson as having played for both, though gives his initial as W not J S
  9. ^ Marshall, Francis, Football; the Rugby union game, p201, (1892) (London Paris Melbourne, Cassell and company, limited)
  10. ^ Marshall, Francis, Football; the Rugby union game, p144, (1892) (London Paris Melbourne, Cassell and company, limited)
  11. ^ Glasgow Accies official site - 1872 and all that