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Photo: Scotland host England 1971

(Thanks to Steve Cohen at Nscro for much of the information and the photo.)

Scotland hosted England in the first rugby union international on March 27th in 1871.

On that day, Scotland defeated England. The match was played at Raeburn Palace, home to the Edinburgh Academicals. Rugby in those days consisted of twenty players a side. England came with ten graduates from Rugby School.

The match, played in front of 4,000 spectators, was won by Scotland, which scored two tries and a goal to England’s single try.  (Old scoring rules: A try produced a chance at a kick on goal. Points scored if successful.)

The game resulted from a challenge issued in Bells Weekly magazine in 1870, when the captains of five Scottish teams invited any side selected from the “whole of England” to a game under rugby rules. 

The English team wore all white with a red rose upon their chests, while the Scots wore brown shirts with a thistle.

Scot Angus Buchanan was the first man to score a try in international rugby.

The English found revenge by winning the return match at the Kennington Oval, London, in 1872.  This contest eventually became the annual Calcutta Cup between Scotland and England.