Edinburgh District (rugby union)

Last updated

Edinburgh District
Full nameEdinburgh District
Foundedamateur 1872;150 years ago (1872)
professional 1996;26 years ago (1996)
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Rugby football current event.svg Current season

Edinburgh District was a select provincial amateur rugby union team that drew its players mainly from the Edinburgh area, as well as others from the rest of east central Scotland; roughly corresponding to the old Lothian regional council area. Historically the Edinburgh District team played matches against touring teams visiting Scotland from abroad, and also competed in the Scottish Inter-District Championship.


The Edinburgh District rugby union team was founded in 1872. The team played the world's first inter-district match that year against Glasgow District rugby union team.

The amateur Edinburgh District side evolved into the professional Edinburgh Rugby side in 1996; one year after rugby union allowed professionalism in 1995.


The Edinburgh District side was formed in 1872 to play against a Glasgow District side.

The teams met on 23 November 1872 at Burnbank Park and Edinburgh won 1 drop goal – 0 in a 20-a-side fixture. This is the oldest inter-district match in the world and to mark this the current Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby sides play for the 1872 Cup every year.

The first Edinburgh team in 1872: [1]

 Backs:  A. Ross (Wanderers), J. Patullo (Craigmount), Thomas Roger Marshall (Edinburgh Academicals), W. St. Clair Grant (Craigmount), J. Junor (Royal High School), James Andrew Whitelock Mein (Edinburgh Academicals), and E. Thew (Merchistonians)
 Forwards:  Francis Moncreiff (captain), R. W. Irvine, E. M. Bannerman, James Finlay (Edinburgh Academicals), Angus Buchanan, Alexander Petrie, and M. Sanderson (Royal High School), Charles Cathcart and John Lisle Hall MacFarlane (Edinburgh University), Tom Whittington (Merchistonians), Benjamin Blyth II (Merchistonians), J. Forsyth and A. R. Stewart (Wanderers)

Selection of representative players

Often to aid the selection process of Edinburgh District's players a trial match was played.

In Edinburgh's case a trial match of hopefuls were divided into Stripes and Plain teams, so the players could impress the selectors. [2]

Early history

The Glasgow v Edinburgh district fixture was more or less played annually. The first 15 a side match was played in 1876. Edinburgh won the first fixtures and it wasn't until 1881 that Glasgow won at the thirteenth attempt. Glasgow then held dominance till 1887 when once more Edinburgh won again. From the 1880s to the close of the 1890s Edinburgh won a total of only four times in 20-years. The tide turned back in Edinburgh's favour in 1898. With only a solitary Glasgow win in 1905, Edinburgh held sway until 1914. [3]

The games were postponed during the First World War period. After 50-years at Burnbank - the West of Scotland ground in Woodlands, Glasgow – the Glasgow v Edinburgh fixture moved to Glasgow Academical's ground at Anniesland, Glasgow, in 1922. This move prompted yet another shift in balance as Glasgow once again became the dominant force of the two districts.

Touring sides

Edinburgh often played matches against international and non-international touring teams. Occasionally both Glasgow and Edinburgh would field joint teams against the international touring teams.

Scottish Inter-District Championship

Two other Scottish districts South and North and Midlands had also been formed and there was regular matches between the four Scottish districts as well as against the touring sides.

The Scottish Inter-District Championship was established in the 1953–54 season. The Glasgow District, Edinburgh, South and North and Midlands sides would play off to see which district was best in Scotland. Occasionally London Scottish or an Anglo-Scots team was also invited into this championship.

Effect of professionalism

With the advent of professionalism in 1995, the Scottish Rugby Union realised that not even the best semi-professional Scottish club teams could compete in the new Professional Era in rugby union, which was beginning to gain great momentum in the professional leagues of the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere.

In an attempt to stay in touch with the leading nations the SRU formed four professional teams out of the four amateur districts of Scotland in 1996. It was these newly professional teams that would represent Scotland in the Heineken Cup and in the Celtic League. The amateur Edinburgh District side was to become the professional Edinburgh Rugby side.

For the subsequent history of the professional Edinburgh rugby district team from 1996, see Edinburgh rugby.


Season standings


Inter-CityNo Inter-City played

Glasgow score given first. ᵜ Previous to 1876 only goals counted; tries were ignored in the result.

Scoreline key:

Glasgow winEdinburgh winDraw
Twice a season matches
1872-7323 Nov 18720 - 1dg Report XX a side15 Jan 18730 - 1 gl, 2tr Detail XX a side
1873-746 Dec 18730 - 0 Report XX a side24 Jan 18740 - 1 tr ᵜ Report XX a side
1874-755 Dec 18740 - 0 Report XX a side20 Feb 18750 - 0 Report XX a side
1875-7618 Dec 18750 - 0 Report XX a side29 Jan 18760 - 0 Report XV a side
Annual matches
1876-772 Dec 18760 - 1tr Report XV a side from now on
1877-781 Dec 18770 - 1dg Report
1878-79no match; 9 weeks of frost
1879-8020 Dec 18791gl - 1gl Report
1880-814 Dec 18800 - 1gl, 2 trl Report
1881-823 Dec 18811gl, 1tr - 1tr Report
1882-832 Dec 18821gl, 1 tr - 0 Report
1883-841 Dec 18831tr - 1gl, 2tr Report
1884-856 Dec 18841gl - 1tr Report
1885-865 Dec 18851gl, 1tr - 2tr Report Hampden Park
1886-874 Dec 18861tr - 0 Report
1887-883 Dec 18870 - 2gl, 3tr Report
1888-891 Dec 18881gl - 0 Report
1889-907 Dec 18890 - 1dg Report
1890-916 Dec 18901gl, 5tr - 2tr Report
1891-925 Dec 18911dg, 1tr - 1tr Report
1892-9317 Dec 18921gl, 1tr - 3tr Report
1893-9416 Dec 18932gl, 2tr - 0 Report
1894-951 Dec 18942 gl - 2 tr Report
1895-967 Dec 18950 - 0 Report
1896-975 Dec 18961tr - 0 Report
1897-984 Dec 18971pg, 1tr - 1gl Report
1898-993 Dec 18981dg, 3tr - 0 Report
1899-19002 Dec 18991pg - 3tr Report
1900-011 Dec 19000 - 2gl, 3tr Report
1901-027 Dec 19010 - 2gl, 2tr Report
1902-0313 Dec 19020 - 0 Report
1903-045 Dec 19030 - 2gl, 5tr Report
1904-053 Dec 19041tr - 2tr Report
1905-062 Dec 19051gl, 2tr - 1tr Report
1906-071 Dec 19060 - 0 Report
1907-087 Dec 19070 - 0 Report
1908-095 Dec 19081gl, 1tr - 1tr Report
1909-1018 Dec 19091gl, 2tr - 2gl, 2tr Report
1910-113 Dec 19101gl - 4gl, 2tr Report
1911-122 Dec 19112tr - 3gl, 2tr Report
1912-137 Dec 19121pg, 1tr - 2gl, 1tr Report
1913-146 Dec 19131dg - 1dg Report
1914-19no matches; war years
1919-206 Dec 19191pg - 2gl, 3tr Report
1920-214 Dec 19201pg, 1tr - 1gl, 2tr Report
1921-223 Dec 19211gl, 1tr - 1pg Report
1922-232 Dec 19221gl, 1tr - 1gl, 4tr Report Old Anniesland
1923-241 Dec 19231plg - 1plg Report
1924-256 Dec 19244gl, 3tr - 2tr Report
1925-26 Report Report no match; frost
1926-274 Dec 19263tr - 3gl, 1p, 1tr Report
1927-283 Dec 19271p - 1gl, 1tr, 1p Report
1928-291 Dec 19281g, 1d, 2p, 1tr - 3g, 1t Report
1929-307 Dec 19291gl, 5tr - 1gl, 1tr Report
1930-316 Dec 19303tr - 2p Report
1931-325 Dec 19312tr - 1gl, 1p, 1tr Report
1932-333 Dec 19321gl, 1tr - 1gl, 4tr Report
1933-342 Dec 19331gl, 1tr - 1p, 4tr Report
1934-351 Dec 19341tr - 0 Report
1935-367 Dec 19354gl, 3tr - 0 Report
1936-375 Dec 19361gl, 1p, 1tr - 1p Report
1937-384 Dec 19374gl, 3p - 1p, 1tr Report
1938-393 Dec 19382p, 1tr - 1dg, 3p, 1tr Report
1939-45no matches; war years
1945-461 Dec 19451tr - 5gl,1p, 2tr Report
1946-477 Dec 19463tr - 4gl, 3tr Report
1947-486 Dec 19472dg, 1tr - 1gl, 1tr Report
1948-494 Dec 19482p, 1tr - 1p Report
1949-503 Dec 19490 - 1gl, 1p Report
1950-512 Dec 19501gl, 1p, 1tr - 1p Report
1951-521 Dec 19512tr - 1tr Report
1952-5313 Dec 19521g, 2p, 1t - 2g, 1t Report

Scottish Inter-District Championship

The Inter-City match was then incorporated into the Scottish Inter-District Championship. For Glasgow's professional championship results from 1996 see Glasgow Warriors; for results of later Glasgow - Edinburgh matches see 1872 Cup.

Scottish Inter-District Championship
1953–54 1st33005318+35-6
1954–55 3rd31112317+6-3
1955–56 2nd3120309+21-4
1956–57 1st=32013628+8-4Shared with South
1957–58 1st=32104223+19-5Shared with South
1958–59 1st=32012024-4-4Shared with South
1959–60 1st=32013135-4-4Shared with South & North and Midlands
1960–61 1st33004314+29-6
1961–62 1st=3210379+28-5Shared with South
1962–63 1st3300389+29-6
1963–64 2nd32013015+15-4
1964–65 4th31022533-8-2
1965–66 2nd32013211+21-4
1966–67 4th30121928-9-1
1967–68 1st=32014825+23-4Shared with South & Glasgow
1968–69 2nd31114254-12-3
1969–70 4th30121228-16-1
1970–71 3rd31024449-5-2
1971–72 1st= (CH)32014236+6-4Edinburgh beat Glasgow in play-off
1972–73 1st=32015441+13-4
1973–74 4th30031938-19-0
1974–75 3rd31022732-5-2
1975–76 1st=32013834+4-4
1976–77 2nd32018551+34-4
1977–78 1st=32014934+15-4Shared with Glasgow & South
1978–79 2nd32018542+43-4
1979–80 1st330010331+72-6
1980–81 3rd31027433+41-2
1981–82 1st=43108028+52-7Shared with South
1982–83 3rd42028866+22-4
1983–84 2nd420210759+48-4
1984–85 2nd43018259+23-6
1985–86 2nd43016538+27-6
1986–87 1st44009651+45-8
1987–88 1st44008855+33-8
1988–89 1st440011545+70-8
1989–90 3rd42119365+28-5
1990–91 3rd41216370-7-4
1991–92 5th21012144-23-2Abbreviated tournament - no winner
1992–93 2nd42119369+24-5
1993–94 3rd21013446-12--
1994–95 2nd412162620-4
1995–96 2nd420210982+27-4

Partial list of games played against international opposition

24 November 1962: Edinburgh 22–3 Canada, at Murrayfield
19 November 1975: Edinburgh 10–19 Australia, at Myreside
31 October 1979: Edinburgh 4–16 New Zealand, at Myreside
19 September 1981: Edinburgh 13–18 Romania, at Myreside
15 September 1982: Edinburgh 47–12 Fiji, at Myreside
26 October 1983: Edinburgh 6–22 New Zealand, at Myreside
23 September 1986: Edinburgh 26–14 Japan, at Myreside
23 September 1987: Edinburgh 9–22 France, at Goldenacre
9 November 1988: Edinburgh 19–25 Australia, at Myreside
8 November 1995: Edinburgh 22–35 Western Samoa, at Inverleith
24 August 2007: Edinburgh 14-26 Tonga, at Myreside [4]

Notable players

See also

Related Research Articles

Border Reivers (rugby union) Defunct Scottish rugby union club, based in Galashiels

Border Reivers, originally known as Scottish Borders Rugby, and also known as The Borders, were one of four professional rugby union teams in Scotland, alongside Edinburgh, Caledonia Reds and Glasgow Warriors.

Glasgow Warriors Scottish rugby union club, based in Glasgow

Glasgow Warriors are one of the two professional rugby union sides from Scotland. The team plays in the United Rugby Championship league and in the European Professional Club Rugby tournaments. In the 2014–15 season they won the Pro12 title and became the first Scottish team to win a major trophy in rugby union's professional era. The side is known for its fast, dynamic and attacking style of play, using offloads and quick rucks. Defensively the club prides itself on its 'Fortress Scotstoun' where the club play at home.

The South is a select rugby union team that draws its players from the South of Scotland, mainly the Scottish Borders where there has always been a proud tradition of rugby union. Historically the South team played matches against touring teams visiting Scotland from abroad, and also competed in the Scottish Inter-District Championship. After rugby union became a professional sport in 1995, the team was replaced in 1996 by the new Border Reivers team based in the same geographical area as the South and who wore the same colours as the old team.

Rugby union in Scotland

Rugby union in Scotland is a popular team sport. Scotland's national side today competes in the annual Six Nations Championship and the Rugby World Cup. The first ever international rugby match was played on 27 March 1871, at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh, when Scotland defeated England in front of 4,000 people. Professional clubs compete in the United Rugby Championship, European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup, while the Scottish League Championship exists for over 200 amateur and semi-professional clubs, as does a knock-out competition, the Scottish Cup. The governing body, the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU), is one of the ten first-tier member nations of World Rugby.

Caledonia Reds Defunct Scottish rugby union club, based in Aberdeen & Perth

Caledonia Reds were a Scottish rugby union professional district team who participated in the Scottish Inter-District Championship and in two seasons of the Heineken Cup. They evolved from one of the traditional four amateur districts of Scotland, North and Midlands, in 1996.

History of rugby union in Scotland

Rugby union in Scotland in its modern form has existed since the mid-19th century. As with the history of rugby union itself however, it emerged from older traditional forms of football which preceded the codification of the sport. In the same manner as rugby union in England, rugby union in Scotland would grow at a significant rate to the point where Scotland played England in the first ever rugby union international in 1871, a match which was won by the Scottish team.

The 1872 Cup – also known as the 1872 Challenge Cup – is a men's rugby union tournament contested every year between the two Scottish professional clubs, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby.

Glasgow District was a Scottish amateur rugby union team which now plays as the professional provincial side Glasgow Warriors. Founded in 1872 it was a select provincial amateur rugby union team that drew its players mainly from the Greater Glasgow area, as well as others from the rest of the west of Scotland; roughly corresponding to the old Strathclyde regional council area. Historically the Glasgow District team played matches against touring teams visiting Scotland from abroad, and also competed in the Scottish Inter-District Championship.

The Scottish Inter-District Championship is a rugby union competition between regional sides in Scotland. Established in 1953, the tournament went through several formats.

The Welsh–Scottish League was a rugby union league in Scotland and Wales jointly implemented by the Scottish Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union from the 1999–2000 season onwards. It was a precursor to the Celtic League and lasted three seasons, being disbanded after the Celtic League was set up.

The 1995–96 Scottish Inter-District Championship rugby union Scottish Inter-District Championship was the last between the Scottish districts at amateur level, before the game turned professional in Scotland in the summer of 1996; although later amateur Inter-District championship matches were also played in seasons when the Scottish professional districts were playing in the Welsh-Scottish League.

North and Midlands was a select provincial amateur rugby union team that drew its players mainly from north of Scotland, roughly corresponding from around Stirling northwards. Historically the North and Midlands team played matches against touring teams visiting Scotland from abroad, and also competed in the Scottish Inter-District Championship.

Scottish Exiles is a rugby union representative team featuring players selected from the Scottish diaspora. Its players were mainly based in England and as result the team was originally known as the Anglo-Scots. The team competed in the Scottish Inter-District Championship.

North of Scotland was a select provincial amateur rugby union team that drew its players mainly from north of Scotland, roughly corresponding from around Aberdeenshire west and northwards.

Midlands District was a select provincial amateur rugby union team that drew its players mainly from central east Scotland, roughly corresponding from around Stirlingshire, east to Fife and northwards to Perthshire and Angus. Historically the Midlands team played against other Scottish districts, and provided players to the North of Scotland

Scotland's District rugby union sides are provincial representative teams, that in the amateur era capped the best amateur players from their area's club sides to play inter-district matches and matches against touring sides. These districts still survive at age-grade and the professional teams Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby remain provincial sides based on the traditional districts.

The 1872-73 Scottish Districts season is a record of all the rugby union matches for Scotland's district teams.

The 1892–93 Scottish Districts season is a record of all the rugby union matches for Scotland's district teams.

Burnbank Park was a sports ground in Glasgow, Scotland. It was situated in the city's Woodlands area, found at Barrington Drive. No trace of the ground remains, having been built on by sandstone tenement housing in the late 19th century, which survives into the 21st century. The name endures locally with the Burnbank Bowling Club a few blocks to the south, founded in 1866, around the same time the sports grounds were coming into use for team sports.

The Scottish Unofficial Championship was the top league of Scotland's best amateur rugby union clubs. The Championship was 'unofficial' as the Scottish Rugby Union held that the sport should remain amateur and at the time did not sanction competitive games between the clubs.


  1. "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search".
  2. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=WMhAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=P6YMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4391%2C2808608 [ bare URL ]
  3. "The Story of Scottish Rugby".
  4. "Our history". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  5. "The hidden history of Scotland's first black rugby player". 29 November 2018.