Scotland national rugby union team
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|Union||Scottish Rugby Union|
|Coach(es)||Scott Johnson (interim)|
|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.
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.
As of 11 February 2013, Scotland is ranked tenth in the world by the International Rugby Board.
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 38-18 victory at Twickenham in the 2013 Six Nations.
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, 27.3.1871) 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 (rugby)) 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 1946–7 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 (later three, now two once again) '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, badly 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 and Scotland had to face New Zealand in the quarter-final. They lost.
Their greatest year in the modern era, however, 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 hot favourites, England. Sole famously walked his men onto the field with quiet but steely determination, to the delight of the partisan home crowd. 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 went out to England in the semi-final held at Murrayfield to a Rob Andrew drop goal. In the third place play-off they were again beaten by New Zealand.
The third World Cup, held in South Africa, came around in 1995. The tournament followed a familiar pattern: a narrow defeat by France, thanks to an injury-time try, meant that, as second in the pool, they faced a quarter-final against New Zealand and were eliminated.
Scotland also won the last-ever Five Nations Championship in 1999 with some dashing displays of 15-man rugby and to a last minute win by Wales over England, but that year’s World Cup ended the usual way, with a quarter-final defeat by New Zealand.
They 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 an unbeaten England at a rain-soaked Murrayfield to prove that there is still plenty of pride and passion in Scottish rugby.
After a poor start in the Six Nations 2003–04 in which Scotland did not win a single match and so qualified for rugby's version of the wooden spoon, things were believed to be steadily improving once again under the Australian coach Matt Williams, the first foreigner to coach the national team.
Despite setbacks, many new and talented young players are coming through to the top level. Yet the record for 2004 was disappointing: Played 12, Won 2, Lost 10. Williams also 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) is 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 (previously a PE teacher at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh), was appointed interim coach for the 2005 summer internationals against the Barbarians and Romania, winning two from two and instilling confidence in the national side again. 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 on 25 February 2006 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 Rugby World Cup. They fought their way through a difficult group and made it to the quarter finals where they were knocked out by Argentina.
Despite the promising 2007 World Cup, 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 a second defeat at the hands of Italy, avoiding the wooden spoon only on scoring difference. They then toured Argentina 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 then world champions 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 warm up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Scotland recorded victories against Ireland (10-6) and Italy (23-12). However, they didn't take that form into the tournament where they 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 in the IRB rankings. Even after this whitewash, Scotland defeated Australia 9-6 in the 2012 mid-year rugby test series. This was Scotland's first win in Australia since 1982, ending 30 years of defeat. This was also the first time in 30 years that Scotland defeated Australia more than once in a row. Scotland also recorded first-ever 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, the result of which caused head coach Andy Robinson to resign. Scott Johnson became interim Head Coach for the team. He lead the team during the 2013 Six Nations, where Scotland finished third in the tournament. Scotland won two of their 5 games, including wins over Italy and Ireland. Scotland's third placed finish meant it was their best finish in the competition since 2006. Johnson will also lead the team into the 2013 Summer tests againt South Africa and Samoa. The SRU will consider renewing his contract after this.
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|
|1998-2008||Canterbury||The Famous Grouse|
IRB World Rankings
|Top 25 Rankings as of 25 March 2013|
|*Change from the previous week|
|Scotland's Historical Rankings|
|Source: IRB - Graph updated to 25 March 2013|
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)||11 (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 29 December 2012:
Scotland's 35-man training squad for the 2013 Six Nations which includes 10 uncapped players and the return of Johnnie Beattie. The squad also features New Zealand born and former Crusaders player Sean Maitland A captain is yet to be announced.
- Caps updated 17 March 2013
Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the International Rugby Board.
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
McGeechan and Bill Maclaren are members of the IRB Hall of Fame.
A Greatest Ever XV was selected by popular vote on the SRU's website.
- 15 Gavin Hastings
- 14 Andy Irvine
- 13 Alan Tait
- 12 Jim Renwick
- 11 Roger Baird
- 10 John Rutherford
- 9 Gary Armstrong
- 8 Derek White
- 7 Finlay Calder
- 6 John Jeffrey
- 5 Scott Murray
- 4 Gordon Brown
- 3 Iain Milne
- 2 Colin Deans
- 1 Jim Aitken, captain
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 1985-1988 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 only one other foreign coach to lead the national side, the other being the incumbent 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 to his current position.
|Andy Robinson||2009 – 2012||35||15||1||19||42.9|
|Scott Johnson||2013 -||5||2||0||3||40.0|