Scotland national rugby union team

The Scotland national rugby union team 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. As of 14 October 2019, Scotland are 9th in the World Rugby Rankings.[1]

UnionScottish Rugby Union
Head coachGregor Townsend
CaptainStuart McInally
Most capsRoss Ford (110)
Top scorerChris Paterson (809)
Top try scorerIan Smith &
Tony Stanger (24)
Home stadiumMurrayfield Stadium
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current9 (as of 14 Oct 2019)
Highest5 (2018)
Lowest12 (2015)
First international
 Scotland 1–0  England
(27 March 1871)
Biggest win
 Scotland 100–8  Japan
(13 November 2004)
Biggest defeat
 Scotland 10–68  South Africa
(6 December 1997)
World Cup
Appearances9 (First in 1987)
Best resultFourth place, 1991

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 nine competitions, the most recent being in 2019, where they failed to reach the quarter-finals. Their best finish came in 1991, where they lost to the All Blacks in the third place play-off.

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, with Scotland having last won in 2018.



The Scots issue a challenge

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 rugby rules. The English could hardly ignore such a challenge and this led to the first-ever rugby international match being played at Academical Cricket Club's ground at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, on Monday 27 March 1871. In front of around 4000 spectators, the Scots won the encounter by a try (made by Angus Buchanan) 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 by winning the return match at the Kennington Oval, London in the following year.[2][3][4]

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.[5]

Origins of the Nations Championship

In 1882 the Home Nations Championship, the fore-runner of the modern Six Nations Championship was founded with Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland taking part.[6] The Scots enjoyed occasional success in the early years, winning their first Triple Crown in 1891 and repeating the feat again in 1895,[6][7] and vying with Wales for dominance in the first decade of the 20th century.[6] Further Triple Crowns wins for Scotland followed in 1901, 1903 and 1907.[7] However, Scotland's triumph in 1907 would be the last for eighteen years as the First World War (1914–1918) and England's dominance afterwards would deny them glory.[6]

Home ground

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 3–9 Ireland). 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.[7]


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.[8]

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.[6][9]

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.[7]


Internationals resumed in the 1946–47 season, although these were not formally recognised and no caps were awarded to participating players.[7] In January 1946, Scotland played and defeated a strong New Zealand Armed Forces team by 11–6.[10][11] Scotland resumed full international matches in February 1947, losing 22–8 to Wales at Murrayfield.[7]

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.[12] 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.[13]

The teams from 1955–63 were an improvement. There were no wins over England, but three of the games were drawn. Occasional wins were recorded against Wales, Ireland and France.[14] 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.[15] The Calcutta Cup was won 15–6, the first time since 1950[16] and they shared the Five Nations title in 1964 with Wales.[17]

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".[18]

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 '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 Pro14.

On 1 March 1975, around 104,000 spectators watched Scotland defeat Wales 12–10 in a Five Nations match at Murrayfield. The attendance at the time was a World Record for a Rugby Union match, and remains the record attendance at Murrayfield.[19][20] That win was part of a run of nine successive wins at Murrayfield during the 1970s for the national side, but they were unable to transfer that form outwith Scotland, only managing two away wins during the decade.[21]

In 1977 Nairn McEwan succeeded Bill Dickinson as national coach.[22] However, he was only able to win one international in his three years in charge.[22] Nevertheless, rugby in Scotland was clearly developing.[23] The establishment of the national leagues in 1973–74 was beginning to bear fruit; the standard of club and district rugby was higher than ever and players were more accustomed to experiencing pressure in matches where the result really mattered.[23] Fewer players were being selected from English clubs to represent Scotland as the domestic game was producing an adequate number of players of genuine international class for the first time since the First World War.[23]

Jim Telfer became national coach in 1980,[24] inheriting a squad of genuine potential.[23] In March 1982 Scotland won away in Wales for the first time in 20 years.[25] Scotland toured Australia in July 1982 and won the first test, Scotland's first away victory against any of the big three Southern Hemisphere sides.[26][27] After this, the 1983 season was a disappointment; losing their first three Five Nations matches.[28] However, the tournament ended on a high when Scotland recorded only their second victory over England at Twickenham since 1938.[24] Scotland then went on to draw with the All Blacks 25–25 in the late autumn.[28]

Scotland recovered their form in 1984 and achieved their second Grand Slam, and their first since 1925, under the captaincy of Jim Aitken.[24] The team benefited from consistent selection - 12 players took part in all four Five Nations matches,[23] and of the 20 players used in total throughout only two played for clubs outwith Scotland.[23] 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 (not a relative).[23][29] He lasted just over a year, enduring a whitewash in the 1985 Five Nations, before resigning to concentrate on his business.[30] Derrick Grant was then appointed head coach.[30]

In January 1986, a trial match between "Blues" (players expected to feature for Scotland) and "Reds" (emerging players with a possible international future) resulted in a shock 41–10 win for the "Reds".[31] The "Reds" team included Gavin and Scott Hastings, Finlay Calder and David Sole, all of whom who would debut for Scotland in the Five Nations that year and feature prominently for side in the years that followed.[32] Scotland went on to share the 1986 Five Nations championship with France, each side winning three out of their four games.[33] The series also saw Scotland thrash England 33–6 at Murrayfield; Scotland's record win over the English, at the time one point short of Scotland's best score in any rugby union international and England's heaviest defeat in over a century.[34]


Scotland went to the first World Cup, played in New Zealand and Australia in the summer of 1987. John Rutherford, the team's general and controlling influence, had 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. Scotland lost to New Zealand in the quarter-final. On 27 June 1988, Ian McGeechan was appointed as head coach to succeed Derrick Grant who had retired after the end of the 1988 Five Nations series.[35]

Their greatest year in the modern era was 1990, when their season came down to one game, a Grand Slam decider at Murrayfield against the "auld enemy", England. Both sides had won all their Five Nations fixtures, and England were overwhelming favourites despite being the away side. Scotland under the captaincy of prop David Sole went on to win 13–7,[36] and with it their third Grand Slam.[37] The match against England in 1990 was also only the second time that Flower of Scotland was played at Murrayfield, having become Scotland's pre-match national anthem that year.[38]

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 lost to England in the semi-final held at Murrayfield to a Rob Andrew drop goal. In the third place play-off they were beaten by New Zealand.[39]

Scotland went through 1994 without a single win,[40] but bounced back in 1995 to win their first three Five Nations matches.[41] This run of wins included a 23–21 win away against France, courtesy of a last minute try and conversion by Gavin Hastings.[40] This was Scotland's first win in Paris since 1969.[40][41] The last Five Nations match was another Grand Slam decider against England, however this time the English defeated the Scots 24–12, largely due to the kicking prowess of Rob Andrew.[41]

The third World Cup, held in South Africa, came in 1995. Pool play saw a narrow defeat by France, thanks to an injury-time try, and Scotland finished second in the pool. They were eliminated in the quarter-final against New Zealand.[42]

Scotland won the last-ever Five Nations Championship in 1999 with a last minute win by Wales over England.[43] However, in the 1999 World Cup they suffered a quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.[44]


Scotland endured a torrid Six Nations in 2000, losing their first four straight games.[45] but won the final game against England 19–13 under captain Andy Nicol.[46]

Australian coach Matt Williams became the first foreigner to coach Scotland in 2003.[47] However his tenure was both controversial and unsuccessful, marred by a string of poor results and fall-outs with coaches and players.[47][48][49] In 2004 Williams attempted to introduce a controversial "Fortress Scotland" policy, whereby only those currently playing in Scotland were eligible to play in the national team.[50] Meanwhile, the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) came 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.[51][52] By April 2005, Scotland had won only three out of 17 matches under Williams.[47] Following a review by the SRU and public criticism from several of his players,[49] Williams was finally sacked on 25 April 2005.[53]

Frank Hadden, the head coach of Edinburgh Gunners, was appointed interim coach for the 2005 summer internationals against the Barbarians and Romania,[54] winning both.[55] On 15 September 2005, he was appointed national coach of the Scotland team.[55]

In the first match of the 2006 Six Nations campaign, against France, Scotland won 20–16,[56] and this was the first time since 1999 that they had beaten France.[57] Scotland also beat England 18–12 at home at Murrayfield to reclaim the Calcutta Cup.[58] In the 2006 Autumn internationals Scotland won two of three fixtures. They convincingly beat Romania[59] and put up a solid first half performance against the Pacific Islanders.[60] In the final match against Australia, Scotland failed to impress, with Australia winning 44–15.[61]

In 2007, Scotland became the first Six Nations team to lose at home to Italy, 17–37.[62] This was Italy's biggest ever victory over Scotland, home or away. Later that year, the side travelled to France for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. They made their way through their group and reached the quarter finals, where they were knocked out by Argentina.[63]

Scotland opened their 2008 Six Nations campaign losing 27–6 to France at home.[64] Pressure on Frank Hadden started to intensify after Scotland lost to Wales[65] and then to Ireland.[66] They then defeated England in the Calcutta Cup with a 15–9 victory[67] before succumbing to Italy, avoiding the wooden spoon only on scoring difference.[68] They then toured Argentina in the summer to play two tests against Argentina. They lost the first test 21–15, but won the second 26–14.[69]


In a dismal 2009 Six Nations campaign, Scotland won just one match for a second consecutive year (against Italy) and thus, on 2 April 2009 Frank Hadden resigned as head coach of the national side.[70] On 4 June 2009, ex-England, Edinburgh and Bath coach Andy Robinson was named head coach in time for the 2009 Autumn Internationals.[71] Scotland's form picked up with a 23–10 victory over Fiji[72] and a memorable 9–8 win against Australia (the first win over the Wallabies for 27 years) at Murrayfield.[73]

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.[74] That summer, Scotland toured Argentina and recorded their first ever away series victory, beating the Pumas in both tests, 24–16 and 13–9.[75] In the Autumn Internationals of 2010, Scotland lost heavily against New Zealand before recording victories against South Africa, 21–17, and Samoa, 19–16.[76]

Scotland had a poor showing in the 2011 Six Nations, winning just one match, a 21–8 victory over Italy.[77] In the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Scotland struggled to beat Romania 34–24 and Georgia 15–6,[78][79] before losing 13–12 to Argentina.[80] 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.[81]

Scotland were terrible during the 2012 Six Nations, picking up the wooden spoon and being whitewashed, despite promising moments,[82] and falling to 12th, Scotland's lowest ever in the IRB rankings.[83] Even after this whitewash, Scotland defeated Australia 9–6 in the 2012 Scotland rugby union tour of Australia, Fiji and Samoa. This was Scotland's first win in Australia since 1982 and the first time in 30 years that Scotland defeated Australia more than once in a row.[84] Scotland also recorded away wins over both Fiji and Samoa.[85] During Scotland's 2012 Autumn Tests they suffered a series of defeats, versus the All Blacks, South Africa and most notably Tonga, which caused head coach Andy Robinson to resign.[86] Scott Johnson became interim Head Coach for the team in December 2012.[87]

During the 2013 Six Nations, Scotland won their matches against Italy and Ireland to finish third, their best finish in the competition since 2006. On 3 May 2013, Johnson was named the first ever Director of Rugby for Scotland responsible for overseeing all rugby in the nation.[88] On 27 May 2013, it was announced that Vern Cotter would become head coach of Scotland, but the SRU had to wait until 2014 as club Clermont failed to reach an agreement with the SRU to release Cotter a year early from his contract.[89]

Scotland had a dismal 2014 Six Nations campaign; managing only one win (away in Italy), finishing second bottom and hammered 51–3 by Wales in the final match.[90] Vern Cotter finally assumed his role as head coach, and in June of the same year Scotland won three tests against the top teams of the Americas, before being hammered by South Africa 55–6.[91] The three autumn tests held at Murrayfield during November yielded wins over Argentina and Tonga, and a narrow defeat against New Zealand.[92][93] The test against Tonga took place at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, and was the first Rugby Union international to be played on an artificial surface.[93]

The 2015 Six Nations Championship ended in a whitewash for Scotland, despite optimism amongst players and supporters beforehand.[94] However, Scotland displayed improved performances in their World Cup warm-up games over the summer, with two wins over Italy and narrow defeats away in Ireland and France.[95] Scotland played well at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England; qualifying from their group by beating Japan, USA and Samoa, although they lost to South Africa. Scotland played Australia in the quarter-finals, and with 30 seconds remaining led 34–32. However, referee Craig Joubert then awarded the Wallabies a highly controversial penalty, later judged by the game's ruling body to be incorrect, which Bernard Foley scored to give Australia victory.[96][97]

Scotland lost their first two games in the 2016 Six Nations Championship, extending their losing streak in the Six Nations to nine matches, their worst run in the championship since the 1950s.[98] The Scots finally ended their losing run with a 3620 win over Italy in Rome; John Barclay, John Hardie and Tommy Seymour all scoring tries.[99] Scotland followed that win up with a victory over France at Murrayfield; Stuart Hogg, Duncan Taylor and Tim Visser scoring tries in a 2918 win. It was Scotland's first victory over France since 2006, and also ended a 10 match losing streak against Les Bleus.[100] Scotland had a successful tour of Japan in June (winning both test matches),[101] and during the Autumn Internationals recorded a third consecutive win against Argentina (their seventh recognised win overall against the Pumas).

In the 2017 Six Nations, Scotland saw a marked improvement in performance with three home wins and two away defeats. This was Vern Cotter's last tournament as head coach of Scotland, despite their also beating Australia 24-19 on the summer tour of the Southern Hemisphere. In their first 6Ns game, Scotland went in with confidence to win their first opening match for eleven years against Ireland in a close match at Murrayfield Stadium.[102][103] This followed with a defeat in Paris to France. Scotland secured a win over Wales in their third game, Scotland's first since 2007. In the eagerly anticipated Calcutta Cup tie against England at Twickenham,[104] however, Scotland were thrashed 61-21.[105] This was a record defeat against the English, and a result which ended their hopes of winning the Six Nations.[105] In the last week, Scotland defeated Italy at Murrayfield with a 29-0 victory, securing fourth place in the tournament table.[106]

Gregor Townsend took over as head coach in June 2017. His first fixture as head coach was against Italy in Singapore where Scotland won 34-13. A week later Scotland defeated Australia 24-19 in Sydney, the second time in a row Scotland had won on Australian soil. The victory was made more notable by the list of absentees, such as Stuart Hogg and Grieg Laidlaw, who were in New Zealand on Lions' duty. The tour was concluded by a 27-22 loss to Fiji in Suva.

Victory over Samoa in November 2017[107] was followed by a breathtaking performance against New Zealand at a sold-out Murrayfield. Tries from Jonny Gray and Huw Jones brought Scotland to 17-22 with barely a minute to go, but it took a superb cover tackle from the All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett to prevent Stuart Hogg from scoring a winning try.[108] A week later Scotland registered a record win over the Wallabies, inflicting eight tries on the visitors in what was the Australian hooker Stephen Moore's final international game. Scotland won 53-24, their biggest ever margin of victory over Australia.[109]

In the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Scotland took an early exit with losses to both Ireland and the hosts. Scotland did however score ninety-five unanswered points across two wins against Samoa and Russia.[110]

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).[111]

"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. 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 on 14 November 1998.[112] 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

In September 1993, a sponsorship deal was announced with The Famous Grouse, resulting in a sponsors' name being added to Scottish international players' kit for the first time in addition to the jersey manufacturers' emblem.[113] In 1997 a new deal saw the Grouse logo appear on the Scotland jersey.[114] Further deals followed and it became the longest association with a sponsor in world rugby.[115] During this time, when Scotland played test matches in France, The Famous Grouse logo was replaced by the initias "TFG" due to the Evin law that bans any alcohol advertisement (including in sports events) in France.[116] In May 2007, after seventeen years, The Famous Grouse ended its shirt sponsorship with the team.[117] The Famous Grouse did maintain 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.

On 3 September 2007 it was announced that the then Rangers chairman Sir David Murray's company would become the new shirt sponsor, in a deal worth £2.7 million over three years.[118] 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. BT became the primary shirt sponsor as part of the £20 million deal signed in 2014.[119]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1991–1994 Umbro No shirt sponsor
1994–1998 Pringle The Famous Grouse
1998–2000 Cotton Oxford
2000–2008 Canterbury
2008–2011 Murray
2011–2013 RBS
2013–2015 Macron
2015– BT

Between the 2007 Rugby World Cup warm up games and the 2013 South African quadrangular tournament, the fonts used for their number kit on the back of their kits were Crillee Extra Bold Italic. But since Macron took over as kit supplier, the number fonts on the back of their kits were Arial rounded MT bold (or Oswald Bold, during the 2015 Rugby World Cup).


Top 30 rankings as of 25 November 2019[120]
1  South Africa094.19
2  New Zealand092.11
3  England088.82
4  Wales085.02
5  Ireland084.45
6  Australia081.90
7  France080.88
8  Japan079.28
9  Scotland079.23
10  Argentina078.31
11  Fiji076.21
12  Italy072.04
13  Tonga071.44
14  Georgia071.26
15  Samoa070.72
16  Spain068.15
17  United States068.10
18  Uruguay067.41
19  Romania066.69
20  Russia063.09
21  Hong Kong061.25
22  Canada061.12
23  Namibia061.01
24  Portugal061.01
25  Netherlands060.08
26  Brazil058.89
27  Belgium055.74
28  Germany054.64
29  Chile053.83
30  South Korea053.11
*Change from the previous week
Scotland's historical rankings
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 18 November 2019[120]

Six Nations

Scotland competes annually in the Six Nations Championship, which is played against five other European nations: France, England, Ireland, Italy and Wales.[6] The Six Nations started out as the Home Nations Championship in 1883, with Scotland sharing the championship with England in 1886 before winning the title outright for the first time a year later.[6] Scotland have won the title outright 15 times and shared the championship a further nine times. Scotland have won three Grand Slams (including the Triple Crown) in 1925, 1984 and 1990, in addition to a further seven Triple Crowns.[6] They also contest the Calcutta Cup with England as part of the championship.[6] Scotland were the winners of the last Five Nations in 1999, before Italy joined the competition to make it the Six Nations.[6]

Trophies within the Six Nations

The Triple Crown is awarded to the Scotland, England, Ireland or Wales national side if they can beat the other three 'Home Nation' sides in the Six Nations tournament of that year.

The Calcutta Cup is awarded to the winner of the Scotland - England match in the Six Nations tournament. Scotland is the current holder.

The Centenary Quaich is awarded to the winner of the Scotland - Ireland match in the Six Nations tournament.

The Auld Alliance Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Scotland - France match in the Six Nations tournament.

The Doddie Weir Cup is awarded to the winner of the Scotland - Wales match in the Six Nations tournament.

Beating all the sides in the Six Nations is called a Grand Slam but this has no trophy.






Outright wins (shared wins)
Home Nations5 (4)N/A4 (4)N/A10 (3)7 (4)
Five Nations17 (6)12 (8)6 (5)N/A5 (6)15 (8)
Six Nations654005
Overall28 (10)17 (8)14 (9)0 (0)15 (9)27 (12)
Grand Slams
Home Nations0N/A0N/A02
Five Nations1161N/A36
Six Nations232004
Triple Crowns
Home Nations5N/A2N/A76
Five Nations16N/A4N/A311
Six Nations4N/A5N/A04
Wooden Spoons
Home Nations11N/A15N/A88
Five Nations141721N/A2112
Six Nations0101441

Individual trophies

The Hopetoun Cup is awarded to the winner of Scotland - Australia test matches. Scotland is the current holder.

The Douglas Horn Trophy is awarded to the winner of Scotland - Canada test matches. Scotland is the current holder.

Since 2018, the Doddie Weir Cup is awarded to the winner of Scotland - Wales test matches. Wales is the current holder.

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Qualification
Year Round Pld W D L PF PA Squad Pos Pld W D L PF PA
1987 Quarter-finals 4 2 1 1 138 99 Squad Invited
1991 Fourth Place 6 4 0 2 162 64 Squad Automatically qualified
1995 Quarter-finals 4 2 0 2 179 75 Squad Automatically qualified
1999 Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 173 108 Squad 1st 2 2 0 0 170 14
2003 Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 118 130 Squad Automatically qualified
2007 Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 129 85 Squad Automatically qualified
2011 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 73 59 Squad Automatically qualified
2015 Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 170 128 Squad Automatically qualified
2019 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 119 55 Squad Automatically qualified
2023 - - - - - - - - Automatically qualified
Total Fourth Place 42 24 1 17 1261 803 2 2 0 0 170 14
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place Home venue

Scotland has competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987. Their best finish was fourth in 1991.[39] 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.[39] Since then they have qualified for the quarter-finals in all but two occasions, in 2011 and 2019.[81] In 2015, they came within 30 seconds of a famous win over Australia, however a last minute penalty sealed the win for the Wallabies.[96]


Scotland achieved 100 points for the first time in defeating a young and inexperienced Japan side 100–8 on 13 November 2004.[121] 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.[122][123]

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by a Scotland national XV at test level up until 14 October 2019.[124]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Ivory Coast1100100.00%890+89
 New Zealand3102920.00%349922−573
 Pacific Islanders1100100.00%3422+12
 Presidents XV1100100.00%2716+11
 South Africa27522018.51%306712−406
 United States651083.33%24996+153


Current squad

On 7 May 2019, Gregor Townsend named an initial 42-man training squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[125]

On 28 May, Kyle Steyn and Scott Cummings were added to the squad.[126]

On 9 August, Nick Grigg, Kyle Steyn, Henry Pyrgos and Gary Graham were released from the training squad.[127]

On 27 August, Sam Skinner left the squad with an injury and was replaced by Tim Swinson.[128]

On 3 September, Gregor Townsend announced his 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Grant Stewart, Jamie Bhatti, Tim Swinson, Magnus Bradbury, Matt Fagerson, Josh Strauss, Rory Hutchinson, Huw Jones and Byron McGuigan were all dropped from the squad.[129]

On 23 September, Magnus Bradbury replaced Hamish Watson, after he suffered a knee injury in the team's opening match against Ireland.[130]

On 24 September, Henry Pyrgos replaced Ali Price, after he suffered a foot injury in the team's opening match against Ireland.[131]

  • Caps updated: 14 October 2019

Head Coach: Gregor Townsend

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Fraser Brown Hooker (1989-06-20) 20 June 1989 46 Glasgow Warriors
Stuart McInally Hooker (1990-08-09) 9 August 1990 33 Edinburgh
George Turner Hooker (1992-10-08) 8 October 1992 9 Glasgow Warriors
Simon Berghan Prop (1990-12-07) 7 December 1990 24 Edinburgh
Allan Dell Prop (1992-03-16) 16 March 1992 28 London Irish
Zander Fagerson Prop (1996-01-19) 19 January 1996 25 Glasgow Warriors
W. P. Nel Prop (1986-04-30) 30 April 1986 35 Edinburgh
Gordon Reid Prop (1987-03-04) 4 March 1987 41 Ayrshire Bulls
Scott Cummings Lock (1996-12-03) 3 December 1996 8 Glasgow Warriors
Grant Gilchrist Lock (1990-08-09) 9 August 1990 40 Edinburgh
Jonny Gray Lock (1994-03-14) 14 March 1994 55 Glasgow Warriors
Ben Toolis Lock (1992-03-31) 31 March 1992 22 Edinburgh
John Barclay Back row (1986-09-25) 25 September 1986 76 Edinburgh
Magnus Bradbury Back row (1995-08-23) 23 August 1995 11 Edinburgh
Jamie Ritchie Back row (1996-08-16) 16 August 1996 14 Edinburgh
Blade Thomson Back row (1990-12-04) 4 December 1990 5 Scarlets
Hamish Watson Back row (1991-10-15) 15 October 1991 28 Edinburgh
Ryan Wilson Back row (1989-05-18) 18 May 1989 49 Glasgow Warriors
George Horne Scrum-half (1995-05-12) 12 May 1995 10 Glasgow Warriors
Greig Laidlaw Scrum-half (1985-10-12) 12 October 1985 76 Clermont Auvergne
Ali Price Scrum-half (1993-05-12) 12 May 1993 28 Glasgow Warriors
Henry Pyrgos Scrum-half (1989-07-09) 9 July 1989 28 Edinburgh
Adam Hastings Fly-half (1996-10-05) 5 October 1996 16 Glasgow Warriors
Finn Russell Fly-half (1992-09-23) 23 September 1992 49 Racing 92
Chris Harris Centre (1990-12-28) 28 December 1990 14 Gloucester
Peter Horne Centre (1989-10-05) 5 October 1989 45 Glasgow Warriors
Sam Johnson Centre (1993-06-19) 19 June 1993 9 Glasgow Warriors
Duncan Taylor Centre (1989-09-05) 5 September 1989 26 Saracens
Darcy Graham Wing (1997-06-21) 21 June 1997 11 Edinburgh
Sean Maitland Wing (1988-09-14) 14 September 1988 44 Saracens
Tommy Seymour Wing (1988-07-01) 1 July 1988 55 Glasgow Warriors
Stuart Hogg Fullback (1992-06-24) 24 June 1992 72 Exeter Chiefs
Blair Kinghorn Fullback (1997-01-18) 18 January 1997 17 Edinburgh

Notable players

Four former Scotland players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame:

Ian McGeechan,[136] Bill Maclagan,[136] David Bedell-Sivright,[137] Jim Greenwood[138] Gavin Hastings,[139]Gordon Brown, GPS Macpherson and Andy Irvine are members of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.[136]


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.[18] Nairn McEwan took the reins in 1977 for three years[22] before the team was led by Jim Telfer in 1980.[24] Colin Telfer took over for a year before being succeeded by Derrick Grant in the autumn of 1985.[23][30] From 1988 onwards, Scotland was coached by either Jim Telfer or Ian McGeechan until 2003 when the Australian Matt Williams was appointed, becoming the first non Scot to coach the national side.[47] Scotland have appointed a further three non-Scottish coaches to lead the national side, the others being Scott Johnson, an Australian, Andy Robinson, an Englishman, and Vern Cotter from New Zealand.

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 head coach of the national side. Scott Johnson was Robinson's assistant coach when Robinson stood down in 2013, which ended in the result of Johnson being announced as Interim Head Coach for Scotland in 2013, taking the team through the 2013 Six Nations Championship and the 2013 South African Quadrangular Tournament.[140] Vern Cotter was announced as Scottish Head coach but would not take up on the role until June 2014 as he one-year left on his contract with Clermont Auvergne. This meant that Scott Johnson would remain as Interim Coach until the end of that year's Six Nations Championship.[89]

In August 2016 it was announced that Gregor Townsend would replace Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach in June 2017 when his contract expired.[141]

Scottish Rugby Coaches
Name Tenure Tests Won Drew Lost Win %
Bill Dickinson 1971–1977 27 14 0 13 52
Nairn McEwan 1977–1980 14 1 2 11 7
Jim Telfer 1980–1984 27 13 2 12 48
Colin Telfer 1984–1985 6 0 0 6 0
Derrick Grant 1985–1988 18 9 1 8 50
Ian McGeechan 1988–1993 33 19 1 13 58
Jim Telfer 1994–1999 53 21 2 30 40
Ian McGeechan 2000–2003 43 18 1 24 42
Matt Williams 2003–2005 17 3 0 14 18
Frank Hadden 2005–2009 41 16 0 25 39
Andy Robinson 2009–2012 35 15 1 19 43
Scott Johnson (interim) 2012–2014 16 5 0 11 31
Vern Cotter 2014–2017 36 19 0 17 53
Gregor Townsend 2017– 31 17 1 13 55

The current Scottish coaching set up is:

Player records

Most caps

Updated 14 October 2019[142]

# Name Years Caps Position
1 Ross Ford 2004–2017 110 Hooker
2 Chris Paterson 1999–2011 109 Full-back
3 Sean Lamont 2004–2016 105 Wing
4 Scott Murray 1997–2007 87 Lock
5 Mike Blair 2002–2012 85 Scrum-half
6 Gregor Townsend 1993–2003 82 Fly-half
7 Nathan Hines 2000–2011 77 Lock
Jason White 2000–2009 77 Back-row
9 John Barclay 2007–2019 76 Back-row
Greig Laidlaw 2010– 76 Scrum-half

Most points

Updated 14 October 2019[143]

# Name Career Points Caps Position
1 Chris Paterson 1999–2011 809 109 Full-back
2 Greig Laidlaw 2010– 714 76 Scrum-half
3 Gavin Hastings 1986–1995 667 61 Full-back
4 Andy Irvine 1972–1982 269 51 Full-back
5 Dan Parks 2004–2012 266 67 Fly-half
6 Kenny Logan 1992–2003 220 70 Wing
7 Peter Dods 1983–1991 210 23 Full-back
8 Craig Chalmers 1989–1999 166 60 Fly-half
9 Gregor Townsend 1993–2003 164 82 Fly-half
10 Finn Russell 2014– 144 49 Fly-half

Most tries

Updated 14 October 2019[144]

# Name Career Tries Caps Position
1 Ian Smith 1924–1933 24 32 Wing
Tony Stanger 1989–1998 24 58 Wing
3 Chris Paterson 1999–2011 22 109 Full-back
4 Tommy Seymour 2013– 20 55 Wing
5 Stuart Hogg 2012– 19 72 Full-back
6 Gavin Hastings 1986–1995 17 61 Full-back
Alan Tait 1987–1999 17 27 Centre
Gregor Townsend 1993–2003 17 82 Fly-half
9 Iwan Tukalo 1985–1992 15 37 Wing
10 Sean Lamont 2004–2016 14 105 Wing
Tim Visser 2012–2017 14 33 Wing

See also

Men's national teams



Age Grades

Women's national teams


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