Rugby in Scotland today is a game for everyone, male and female, young and old, looking for some serious, competitive sport, or just wanting a bit of fun to keep active. There are no barriers to participation and volunteers are always welcome at local rugby clubs, where safety and fun are the watch words.
You can play full contact rugby, Touch Rugby or a new form of the game, Tartan Touch, which is being rolled out in the 2016-17 season.
But if you have skills that can help in other areas, from marketing to finance, groundsman-ship to physiotherapy, then you will be made welcome.
There are 143 full-member clubs and 136 associate member clubs covering territory from Shetland to Stranraer.
Scottish Rugby’s most recent audited figures show that there are more than 16,500 adults playing the game in some 387 teams in Scotland, while there are more than 32,000 youth and school players playing in more than 2,100 teams.
Scottish Rugby has an Academy structure in place – to hothouse the best and most promising young talent, male and female – via its four BT Sport Academies covering Caledonia (in the North and Midlands of Scotland), the West, Edinburgh and the Borders and East Lothian.
Since 1995 rugby has been a professional game. There are two fully professional teams in Scotland, both owned by Scottish Rugby, albeit outside investment is being sought actively to finance both.
The two clubs, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, compete in the GUINNESS PRO12 league against clubs from Ireland, Italy and Wales. They are then joined against the cream of professional clubs in England and France in the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup competitions.
The women’s game in Scotland remains largely amateur, albeit the best female players are part of Scottish Rugby’s Academy structure, with the first full-time professional, Jade Konkel, announced this season (2016-17).
The pinnacle of the game in Scotland remains the international team (both men’s and women’s), which plays in the Six Nations Championship on an annual basis. The men’s team also contests Autumn Tests, except every four years, where Rugby World Cup is the main focus of competition.
The Scotland Women’s team has also competed in the Women’s World Cup in the past but did not qualify for the event later this year (2017) in Ireland.
Scottish Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in Scotland and is pledged to do all that it can to promote and grow the game in line with its values of Respect, Leadership, Achievement, Engagement and Enjoyment.
Scottish Rugby has a rich history, celebrated in its Hall of Fame and you can gain an insight into some truly spectacular moments from the last 146 years by joining a tour of BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. You can find out more information about the tour here: http://www.scottishrugby.org/murrayfield-stadium/tours . As part of plans to enhance the BT Murrayfield stadium, a museum is set to be included in future development.
You can also find out information about clubs and how you can get involved on the Scottish Rugby website: www.scottishrugby.org while you can keep up to date on all the latest news via Twitter and Facebook on @scotlandteam and facebook.com/scottishrugby respectively.