John Rutherford (rugby union)

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John Rutherford
Birth nameJohn Young Rutherford
Date of birth (1955-10-04) 4 October 1955 (age 66)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly half
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
- Selkirk ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
- South of Scotland ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1979–87 Scotland 42 (64)

John Young Rutherford (born 4 October 1955) is a former Scotland international rugby union player.[1][2]

Rugby Union career[edit]

Amateur career[edit]

He played for Selkirk.[1]

He was nicknamed Rud or Ruddie.

Provincial career[edit]

He was capped by South of Scotland.[1]

International career[edit]

He gained 42 caps at fly-half for Scotland between 1979 and 1987.[3]

Richard Bath writes of him that:

"Outside Wales, perhaps only the Irish pair of Tony Ward and Ollie Campbell were able to hold a candle to fly-half John Rutherford, the man who dominated Scottish back play for most of the 1980s... Deceptively quick and a natural athlete, he was able to boot the ball prodigious distances or beat a man one-on-one, seemingly at will. Allied to a keen rugby intellect, Rutherford was Scotland's star turn throughout the 1980s."[1]

He was a major figure in Scotland's 1984 Grand Slam.[1]

In the warm up for the 1987 world cup he injured his knee in an unofficial game against Bermuda. He consequently didn't last long in the opening game for Scotland in the 1987 World Cup against France. This proved to be his last international appearance[4][1] He partnered scrum-half Roy Laidlaw in 35 tests, at the time the record for any international half-back pairing.

Richard Bath writes of this partnership that:

"every country has, at some stage, a double-act which sees two players through sheer longevity, become mentioned in the same breath... One of the most enduring partnerships was that of Jed-Forest's Roy Laidlaw and Selkirk's John Rutherford. For nigh on a decade, the two were immovable at half-back for Scotland. Unlike most of the other famous pairings, however, it was Laidlaw and Rutherford's differences rather than their similarities, that melded them into an outstanding partnership. On the one hand, there was the peerless Rutherford, all grace and poise, who could glide through tackles and drill a ball onto a sixpence in the opposition's 22. On the other, there was Laidlaw, a gutsy fighter in the classic Borders mould. The pair played together on 35 occasions, a world record for a half-back partnership."[5]

He was chosen to tour with the British and Irish Lions in 1983, being picked to play in the test team at inside centre.[1]

Rutherford also played for the Rest of the World XV.

Business career[edit]

After his exit from Scottish Rugby, John Rutherford went on to work in the financial sector, and direct a financial consultancy JRG Financial Consultancy - Edinburgh Based IFA

He is a Director of The Bill McLaren Foundation alongside Andy Irvine.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bath, p156
  2. ^ "John Young Rutherford". ESPN scrum.
  3. ^ "Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - Statsguru - Player analysis - John Rutherford - Test matches". ESPN scrum.
  4. ^ "Martin Hannan: Dose of reality needed over Scots' Rugby World Cup prospects". The National. Scotland.
  5. ^ Bath, pp 145-6
  6. ^ "Contact Us". Bill McLaren Foundation. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  1. Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1)
  2. Massie, Allan A Portrait of Scottish Rugby (Polygon, Edinburgh; ISBN 0-904919-84-6)

External links[edit]