Varsity match is coming home

The “world’s oldest varsity match” is coming home.

Scottish Rugby is delighted to announce today that it will host the flagship contest between two of the cradles of the game – Edinburgh University and the University of St Andrews – on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield.

The fixture, the Scottish Varsity match, will take place on Saturday 26 September with a 6pm kick-off.

As part of a festival atmosphere, it will be accompanied by a match between the Universities’ women’s teams – who will also play on the international pitch – and fixtures involving both their second and third XVs.

A major blue-chip sponsor for the match will be announced shortly.

Will Stephen, George Hailstone, Agnes Chauvet and Katie Dougan

Scottish Rugby President Ian Rankin said today: “St Andrews and Edinburgh Universities are both founder member clubs of the Scottish Rugby Union.

They have been playing each other since the 1860s and believe they are the world’s oldest varsity match.

                   -- Ian Rankin, Scottish Rugby President

“In recent years they have taken their fixture to London and been hosted at London Scottish but given the rich heritage that surrounds this game we are pleased to be able to host it at BT Murrayfield.”

University of St Andrews Director of Rugby, David Ross, said: “For the students who have played in this game, it can represent the pinnacle of their rugby career at University.

“We’ve staged the game in London over the last few years, primarily as a means of fostering our links to our alumni, but the opportunity to play this game on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield is a real coup.

“As holders of the Scottish Varsity Match trophy we’re hugely excited about defending it at a time when the profile of rugby will be sky high as Rugby World Cup will be underway in England.”

Edinburgh University head coach – men’s rugby, David Adamson, said: “We are very proud at the role Edinburgh University played in establishing rugby union in Scotland and the part we have played in nurturing young rugby talent from near and far over many years.

From David Bedell-Sivright, one of Scotland’s most famous captains and a member of Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame, to Gregor Townsend, Edinburgh University has played a pivotal role in the narrative of the game in Scotland.

                  -- David Adamson, Edinburgh University head coach

“Our match against St Andrews is the world’s oldest varsity match and to play it on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield will boost the profile of student rugby in Scotland.”

Darren Burns, Scottish Rugby’s Student and Adult Participation Manager, welcomed today’s announcement.  He said: “At Scottish Rugby we are committed to sustaining and enhancing the numbers playing the game, particularly at that crucial period when boys and girls leave school and, either go into further education, or the world of work.

“The Scottish Varsity Match and the associated games happening here will be just part of a number of initiatives we are undertaking with universities and colleges in Scotland to underline the importance of this sector to us.”

Students go FREE

Students will be able to attend the game for FREE, provided they pre-register with their respective Universities.  Otherwise admission will be £5 on the day.

 

Notes to editors

Notes to editors:  Edinburgh University have produced a total of 73 international players who were capped for their countries whilst playing for the University.

 

  • 55 for Scotland
  • 18 for other international countries
  • Seven of whom also became British & Irish Lions – including Scotland’s oldest surviving Lion, Gus Black.
  • EURFC also produced the first player to score an international try in Angus Buchanan.
  • Stuart Grimes is the last player to be capped for Scotland who played for the University.

 

Notable alumni to have been capped for Scotland, but who didn’t represent Edinburgh University, are: Andy Irvine; Tony Stanger; Gregor Townsend; Chris Paterson; Simon Taylor; Mike Blair; Chris Cusiter; Kelly Brown and Matt Scott.

Edinburgh have also had 30 current students and alumni represent the Scotland Women’s team. Current EULRFC players, Harriot Cumber, Katie Dougan, Sarah Law and Mhairi Grieve, are in the current Scotland squad.

The University of St Andrews has produced 21 (Men's) international players:

  • 19 for Scotland, 1 for England, 1 for Ireland
  • Four of whom also became British & Irish Lions (Tyrone Howe, Chris Rea, Duncan Macrae and Robert Stevenson)

 

Most notable are: Damian Hopley; Tyrone Howe; Chris Rea; Jon Petrie; David Whyte (also won 8 GB Athletics Vests);  Michael Kelsey Elgie (also played cricket for South Africa); David Bell (also capped for Scotland at cricket); and A. Clunies-Ross, R. Munro and J. S. Thomson (all played in the first international between Scotland and England at Raeburn Place in 1871).

St Andrews have also produced two Women’s international players for Scotland, Annabel Sergeant and current student Christianne Fahey who is a member of the current Scotland Women’s squad.