SCOTTISH RUGBY: Ancient Grudge Returns to London
First played in 1841, this historic fixture celebrates its 142nd anniversary on Friday 28 September making it the oldest Varsity match in the world, pre-dating its English counterparts Oxford and Cambridge by a year.
London Scottish play hosts to the occasion at Richmond Athletic ground in West London. The match draws in supporters and Alumni from across the country, giving old friends an opportunity to voice support for their teams whilst reminiscing about their student days.
David Ross, Director of Rugby at St Andrews, said: “London Scottish are enabling us to take our brand of Scottish rugby to the large portion of graduates that live in London and the south east of England.
“The game can draw a crowd on par with a British and Irish cup match or potentially one of the Scottish pro-team games.”
The match brings to the fore the deep traditions that both of these Scottish Rugby founder clubs have in the sport.
Head coach at Edinburgh University, David Adamson said: “The varsity match always give us an opportunity to get one over on our rivals.
“This year will be interesting as we will be an unknown quantity due to the number of fresh faces incoming this season.”
The Universities are both setting the bar for Scottish Rugby by employing full time staff to develop rugby at the universities. Ross has four years of experience working as a Performance Development Manager at Scottish Rugby focusing on the age-grade and student game. Adamson on the other hand also doubles as the rugby development officer for Edinburgh University whilst previously holding the position of Edinburgh Rugby under-18 backs coach.
Scottish Rugby vice-president, Ian Rankin, who will be attending the match, is keen for Scottish Rugby to lend more support to the university game.
Rankin said: “University rugby is an important part of Scottish rugby and it’s important that we make efforts to increase the profile of the oldest university game in the world as it is a proud part of our heritage.
“Not only can the best university players go on and play for the best of the RBS Premiership clubs but student rugby is also important to the rugby system by keeping people involved in the sport throughout their life”.
Last year’s game which Edinburgh won 28-8, was a prime example of the continuing strength and spirit of amateur rugby and St Andrews, this year, are keen to settle the score.