Rugby Union – National Team

And so it began!

On the 8th of December 1870 a letter appeared in the pages of “The Scotsman” and “Bell’s life”, a London magazine inviting footballers from England to participate in a match played by the “Rugby Rules”.

Representatives of West of Scotland FC, Edinburgh Academical FC, Merchistonian FC, Glasgow Academical FC and St. Salvator FC (St. Andrews) offered the match.
“…with a view of really testing what Scotland can do against an English team we, as representing the football interests of, hereby challenge any team selected from the whole of England, to play us a match, twenty-a-side, Rugby rules, either in Edinburgh or Glasgow,…”

The gauntlet was picked up appropriately enough by Blackheath, one of London’s oldest clubs. The challenge accepted, the English started to organise the selection of the 20 players who would be the first to wear the rose.

North of the Border a date was set, Monday 27th March 1871, and preparations were made. The match was to be played in Edinburgh and the Academical Cricket Club were approached to lease the ground. And so Raeburn Place was given it’s role as the scene of the first ever International match.