The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU; gd, Aonadh Rugbaidh na h-Alba) is the
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social o ...
rugby union in Scotland Rugby union in Scotland is a popular team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson (academic), Leigh Thompson of the Kel ...
. It is the second oldest Rugby Union, having been founded in 1873, as the Scottish Football Union. The SRU oversees the national league system, known as the Scottish League Championship, and the Scottish National teams. The SRU is headed by the President (Ian Barr) and Chairman (Colin Grassie), with Mark Dodson acting as the Chief Executive Officer. Dee Bradbury became the first female president of a Tier 1 rugby nation upon her appointment on 4 August 2018.



The Scottish Football Union was founded on Monday 3 March 1873 at a meeting held at
Glasgow Academy The Glasgow Academy is a private, coeducational independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvan ...
, Elmbank Street, Glasgow. Eight clubs were represented at the foundation, Glasgow Academicals;
Edinburgh Academical Football Club The Edinburgh Academical Football Club, also known as Edinburgh Accies, is a rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, full-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of th ...
; West of Scotland F.C.; University of St Andrews Rugby Football Club;
Royal High School FP Royal High School Former Pupils was a former Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian ...

Royal High School FP
Merchistonians Merchistonian Football Club is a rugby football Rugby is a collective name for the family of team sports of rugby union and rugby league, as well as the earlier forms of football from which both games, as well as Australian rules football an ...
; Edinburgh University RFC; and Glasgow University Rugby Football Club, Glasgow University. Five of these clubs were, at the time of founding the Scottish Football Union, already members of the previously instituted Rugby Football Union. Although the RFU now represents exclusively English clubs, in its first few years it had members from outside England, there being no other national union. West of Scotland, Glasgow Academicals and Edinburgh University RFC, Edinburgh University had joined the RFU in 1871 and Edinburgh Academicals and Royal High School FP had joined in 1872. These five renounced membership of the RFU to join the SFU. The SFU was a founding member of the one and only International Rugby Football Board, now known as World Rugby, in 1886 with Irish Rugby Football Union, Ireland and Welsh Rugby Union, Wales. (England refused to join until 1890.) In 1924 the SFU changed its name to become the Scottish Rugby Union. International games were played at Inverleith Sports Ground, Inverleith from 1899 to 1925 when Murrayfield was opened.


The SRU owns Murrayfield Stadium which is the main home ground of the Scotland national rugby union team, Scottish national team, though in 2004 international rugby games were played at Hampden Park in Glasgow and McDiarmid Park in Perth, Scotland, Perth, as part of the SRU's campaign to reach out to new audiences outside the traditional rugby areas. When the Heineken Cup (now replaced by the European Rugby Champions Cup) was suggested SRU officials were concerned that Scottish club sides could not compete against the best teams from France and England and that centrally funded so-called 'super-district' teams might do better. The four traditional districts—the South (renamed Border Reivers (rugby union), Border Reivers), Edinburgh, Glasgow and the North & Midlands (rebranded as Caledonia Reds)—were given the go-ahead to take part in Europe. For the first two seasons, players were still released to play for their clubs in domestic competition, but eventually the districts became full-time operations. Then financial difficulties – the SRU's high debt, partly as a result of the redevelopment of Murrayfield Stadium, Murrayfield – called for retrenchment. After two seasons, financial difficulties forced the SRU to merge the four teams into two. Edinburgh merged with the Border Reivers to form a team to be known as Edinburgh Reivers. Glasgow merged with Caledonian to form a team to be known as Glasgow Caledonian. Border Reivers (rugby), The Borders was resurrected in 2002 and joined the second season of the Pro14, Celtic League. As a consequence Edinburgh Reivers became simply Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow became Glasgow Rugby. In 2005, all three teams adopted new names. The Borders readopted the name Border Reivers; Edinburgh became Edinburgh Gunners, but would revert to Edinburgh in 2006; and Glasgow became Glasgow Warriors. Furthermore, the SRU planned to have a world class rugby side for each city or large town in Scotland, when financial circumstances permitted. In 2007, The Borders team was disbanded yet again as a result of continuing financial difficulties. In the same year, the SRU began organising the Scotland Sevens, first held in Edinburgh and later in Glasgow. For several years, it was the final event in the annual IRB Sevens World Series, Sevens World Series, but that distinction now belongs to London Sevens, London. On 21 November 2009 Scotland beat Australia 9–8 after 17 attempts in 27 years. In the Season 2010–11 the SRU had a contractual dispute with the Season Ticket Holders of Edinburgh Rugby. On 22 December 2010 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court (Small Claims) the Sheriff ruled the Scottish Rugby Union had entered a contract between itself and Season Ticket Holders of Edinburgh Rugby Club. The Sheriff also found that the SRU had breached the contract between itself and Edinburgh Rugby Club (a Division of the SRU). Although it was found that the SRU had breached the contract, the Sheriff could not make an order instructing the SRU to comply with its obligation under that contract.

Centenary celebrations

The SRU celebrated its centenary in 1973 with a number of events. Among these was the 1973 International Seven-A-Side Tournament, the first sevens tournament to have national representative sides. The programme for that event also sported the new coat of arms of the SRU that was granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms on 28 February 1973, for the centenary season. The coat of arms is still in use today, but in the main the SRU use the commercial thistle logo on jerseys and stationary. The coat of arms has the motto ''"Non Sine Gloria"'', meaning ''"Not Without Glory"''.

Domestic Rugby

The SRU oversees the national league system, known as the Scottish League Championship, and consisting of: * a Scottish Premiership (rugby), Premiership of 20 teams across 2 divisions. * a Scottish Championship Leagues, National Leagues of 20 teams across 2 regional divisions. * Scottish Regional Leagues, Regional Leagues of 150 clubs in 18 divisions across three regions It also oversees the Scottish Cup (rugby union), Scottish Cup. It is not directly responsible for local, university or 2nd XV leagues.

Women's & Girls Rugby

See also Scottish Women's Rugby. Since the Scottish Women's Rugby Union merged with Scottish Rugby in 2009 the governing body also oversees Women's Fixtures.
Tennent's Women's Premier League 2018–19Tennent's Women's National League 1 2018–19Tennent's Women's National League 2 2018–19Tennent's Women's North League 2018-19Women's National Development League 2018-19
A National Cup competition: *Sarah Beaney Cup 2015–16 *BT Women's Bowl Regional Cup Competition: *Donna Kennedy Cup

National teams

The SRU oversees Scotland's national teams. The most prominent team is the Scotland national rugby union team, which competes in the Six Nations tournament every year and in the Rugby World Cup every four years. The SRU also oversees the Scotland national rugby sevens team, Scotland national sevens team, which competes every year in the World Rugby Sevens Series. And the SRU oversees the Scotland national women's rugby team. The head coach of the Scotland national rugby union team is Gregor Townsend, who began in June 2017. Scott Johnson (rugby coach), Scott Johnson is Director of Rugby. The head coach of the Scottish national women's rugby team is Shade Munro.

North American initiatives

On 28 March 2019, the SRU announced that it had taken a minority stake in Old Glory DC, a team set to begin play in Major League Rugby (MLR), the current top level of the sport in the United States and Canada, in 2020. As MLR operates on a "single-entity" business model similar to the two countries' Major League Soccer, with the league owning all teams and the team operators being league shareholders, this effectively meant that the SRU had taken a small stake in MLR itself.


The current president is Ian Barr who succeeded Dee Bradbury on 15 August 2020. In August 2016 the board elected Colin Grassie to the position of Chairman, taking up the post in January 2017 for a three-year term. The Chief Executive Officer is Mark Dodson. In May 2014, it was announced that Sheila Begbie had been appointed to the newly created post of Head of Women's Rugby, reporting directly to the Director of Rugby and she was due to commence this role in August 2014.

See also

* Rugby union in Scotland * Murrayfield Stadium * Edinburgh Sevens, Edinburgh 7s * Scottish Women's Rugby


External links

*   {{Scottish Sport Scottish Rugby Union, 1873 establishments in Scotland 19th century in Scotland Rugby union in Scotland Sports governing bodies in Scotland, Rugby union Rugby union governing bodies in Scotland World Rugby members Sports organizations established in 1873