Rugby league is a relatively minor sport in Scotland, overshadowed by the popularity of football and rugby union, and to a lesser extent curling, ice hockey and shinty. With the introduction of rugby league into a small number schools and the formation of youth rugby league in Scotland it has seen juniors being signed to Super League clubs.
History Of Scotland Rugby League
In 1895, there was a schism within the game of rugby in neighbouring England which saw the sport of rugby divided.
Rugby union remained amateur and rugby league permitted payments to players. However, no such split took place in Scotland where the clubs continued to play rugby union. 14 Scottish players would cross over and play rugby league in England before amateurism was abandoned.
The history of rugby league in Scotland goes back to 1909 when the touring Australian team drew 17–17 with a Northern Rugby Football Union representative side at Celtic Park, Glasgow. A further match against the Australians followed at Tynecastle, Edinburgh in 1911, again an 11–11 tie. After this the Rugby Football League largely gave up on expansion north of the border.
Nonetheless, a number of Scottish rugby union players, particularly from the Border region, moved south to play for English clubs. A Scottish national team was never seriously considered, though Scots did feature for Other Nationalities and were eligible for Great Britain.
Probably the most famous figure in Scottish rugby league during this period was Dave Valentine, who captained Great Britain to World Cup victory in 1954.
In 2000 and 2002 the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, the home of the Scottish Rugby Union. In 2000 Bradford Bulls defeated Leeds Rhinos 24–18, and in 2002 Wigan Warriors beat St. Helens 21–12. Both ties were played in front of over 60,000 spectators, by far the biggest rugby league events ever held in Scotland.
Scotland Rugby League Governing Body
Scotland Rugby League is the governing body for rugby league in Scotland overseeing development and participation at all levels of the sport.
Scotland Rugby League Competitions
The Scottish National League is the highest tier exclusively Scottish rugby league competition and comprises four teams: Aberdeen Warriors, Ayrshire Storm, Easterhouse Panthers, and Edinburgh Eagles.
Junior Scotland Rugby League Teams
The Saltire Schools Cup is a nationwide Scottish schools competition for boys and girls from S1–S4 school age groups. The National Youth League is competed for at under-17 and under-15 level.
There are two Scottish teams selected: Scotland and Scotland A. The Scotland team is predominantly second-generation professional players, born and bred in England, whereas the Scotland A team (nicknamed "the Bravehearts") is selected from the domestic Scottish competition.
Scotland has participated in the Emerging Nations Cup (1995), in every World Cup since 2000, and European Nations Cup (since 2003) competitions.
Since 2002, Scotland A has participated in the Amateur Four Nations competition and toured Italy, the Netherlands, and Serbia.
Popularity Of Scotland Rugby League
Rugby league is a contracting sport in Scotland largely caused by the reduction in funding from the RFL. In addition to the four clubs in the Scottish National League, there are a small number of other clubs. The majority of the clubs are based in and around Glasgow.
There are two weekly rugby league newspapers, Rugby Leaguer & League Express and League Weekly, and two monthly magazines, Rugby League World and Thirteen Magazine. These cover the sport worldwide and across the UK. These publications are usually only available by subscription in Scotland.
BBC Sport own the rights to broadcast a highlights package called the Super League Show which was first broadcast in Scotland in 2008. The BBC covers the Rugby League Challenge Cup from the rounds in which the top clubs enter.
BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra carry commentary from a selection of Super League matches each week.
This website is very grateful to be supported by Cloud Labels, an online supplier of blank labels on A4 sheets to businesses in Scotland, and the rest of the UK.
Scotland Rugby League - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When did rugby league first start in Scotland? A: The seeds of rugby league in Scotland were sown in the early 20th century, with the sport gaining traction after World War I.
Q: Who are some of the legendary players in Scotland Rugby League? A: Names like Danny Brough and Oliver Wilkes are etched in the annals of Scotland Rugby League history for their outstanding contributions.
Q: Has Scotland ever won a major rugby league tournament? A: Scotland has seen triumphs in various tournaments, with notable performances in the Rugby League European Cup.
Q: What role does the Scotland Rugby League play in the development of the sport? A: The Scotland Rugby League is instrumental in governing the sport, promoting its growth, and nurturing talent at all levels.
Q: How can I get involved in rugby league in Scotland? A: There are numerous clubs and community programs across Scotland welcoming new players and enthusiasts.