Royal Bank of Scotland to sponsor Scottish Varsity match

The world’s oldest varsity match will have a partner with its own extensive record of supporting the sport when the historic fixture returns to Scotland next month.

Royal Bank of Scotland has today been confirmed as the official sponsor of the University of Edinburgh v University of St Andrews clash on the international pitch at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 26 September (kick-off 6pm).

The match represents a historic homecoming for a game between two founder members of the Scottish Rugby Union who have produced some 94 male and 32 women’s international players between them.

In recent years, the fixture has been staged in London as a means of fostering connections with alumni, but with women’s and 2nd and 3rd XV tussles also on the menu in September – the curtain-raisers begin from 3.30pm – it promises to be a showpiece occasion on the eve of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup meeting with the USA in Leeds.

Passion

Supporters can enjoy the full day at the national stadium for free, by registering in advance for tickets via Eventbrite. After heading to www.eventbrite.co.uk, supporters should simply search “Scottish Rugby Varsity Match” and register for up to two tickets each. Admission on the day will be £5.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s involvement comes as part of its commitment to supporting rugby and Scottish cultural life at all levels. In addition to sponsoring the RBS 6 Nations and delivering direct benefit to customers through access to tickets and exclusive experiences, the bank is an official partner of Scottish Rugby, and this weekend will be supporting more than140 Scottish clubs to stage “doors open” days in advance of the new season through Royal Bank RugbyForce.

RugbyForce, open to all clubs affiliated with Scottish Rugby, provides a package of financial, practical and PR support to help clubs promote their offering to the local community with the aim of encouraging new players, supporters, members, volunteers and sponsors.

Brett Williams, sponsorship manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We’re passionate about supporting rugby in Scotland, both as a means of rewarding customers and to enhance the role it plays as a centrepiece of community life in cities, towns and villages up and down the country.

“We also have a commitment to supporting events such as the Royal Highland Show and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which celebrate and promote the rich cultural heritage of this country. The history of the Varsity fixture speaks for itself, both from a rugby perspective and the universities’ place in the fabric of Scottish life, and we’re delighted to play a part in the game returning to Scotland.”

Scotland’s record male points’ scorer and cap-holder Chris Paterson, a member of the University of Edinburgh's Hall of Fame, added: “The varsity match is a fantastic opportunity for the rugby community to share in the prestige of this fixture.

“It’s great to see Royal Bank of Scotland extend the support they offer across the game, and I’m sure we can look forward to a match that showcases all that’s good about university rugby in this country.”

University of St Andrews Director of Rugby, David Ross, said: “Our players can’t wait to step out at the national stadium and defend the Scottish Varsity Match trophy in such inspirational surroundings. We’re fully aware of the history and tradition of the match, and there will clearly be an extra edge this year with it being back on Scottish turf and more accessible to our local support.”

The University of Edinburgh head coach – men’s rugby, David Adamson, said: “It’s set to be a proud day for everyone connected with the universities as we bring the varsity match home. We’ll all be working hard to produce a fitting spectacle for what we hope will be a sizeable crowd.”

Scottish Rugby president Ian Rankin added: “The spotlight will be turned on rugby like never before in the coming months, and the return of this fixture to Scotland is an excellent vehicle to help drive and capitalise on fresh interest. We’re delighted that our long-standing partner Royal Bank of Scotland is lending its support as the varsity match comes home to BT Murrayfield.”

Notes to editors:  The University of Edinburgh has 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 The University of Edinburgh, 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.

Our picture shows Chris Paterson, Nat Coe (Edinburgh), Finn Murphy (St Andrews) and Jonny Petrie in the back row; and Helen Nelson (Edinburgh) and Agnes Chauvet (St Andrews) in the front.

ENDS