Badge of Scotland team
Team information
NicknameThe Bravehearts
Governing bodyScotland Rugby League
Head coachNathan Graham
CaptainDale Ferguson
Most capsDanny Brough (25)
Top try-scorerDavid Scott (10)[1]
Top point-scorerDanny Brough (136)[1]
IRL ranking19 [2]th
First colours
Team results
First international
 Ireland 26–22 Scotland 
(Dublin, Ireland; 13 August 1995)
Biggest win
 Italy 0–104 Scotland 
(Padua, Italy; 17 October 2009)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 84–0 Scotland 
(Coventry, England; 21 October 2022)
World Cup
Appearances4 (first time in 2000)
Best resultQuarterfinals (2013)

The Scotland national rugby league team represent Scotland in international rugby league football tournaments.[3] Following the break-up of the Great Britain team in 2007,[4] Scottish players play solely for Scotland, apart from occasional Southern Hemisphere tours, for which the Great Britain team is expected to be revived.[5] The team is nicknamed the Bravehearts.[6]

Though its foundations may date back to as early as 1904, the team formally began in 1995,[6] making them the newest international rugby league team in Great Britain. In their first match they played Ireland, losing narrowly. Since then, Ireland has become the team's main rival, the two teams having played each other many times in their short histories. In 2000 they qualified for their first ever World Cup, but failed to make an impact, losing all three of their group matches;[7] however, their biggest losing margin was just 12 points.[8] In 2008 they beat Wales over two matches to qualify for the 2008 World Cup.[9]

Scotland play in a dark blue strip, similar to the nation's football and rugby union teams, with blue shirt, shorts and socks. A blue and white shield with a thistle, the Scottish emblem, is the team's badge. The shirt has rarely been significantly changed, although in the early days of the team, white was also used on the shirts.[10]

The team is currently ranked 15th[2] in the RLIF World Rankings, having jumped from fourth after going winless in the 2017 World Cup.[11] Englishman Steve McCormack is the team's coach,[12] having coached since 2004,[13] with Danny Brough captaining the side.[14]



It could be argued that the foundations for the Scottish team began in 1904. On 5 April 1904 England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan.[15][16] It was a 12-a-side game. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team two of them were Scotsmen coming from Northern Union clubs, including captain George Frater.[15] After 80 minutes the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3.[15] The team carried on for another two years, playing England in 1905, losing 26–11, and in 1906, drawing 3–3.[17] The team was regularly revived, most notably in the early 1930s, and in 1949.[18]


The Wolfhounds

Both Scotland and Ireland had been developing rugby league in their respective nations for several years. This was especially true at student level, with a Scotland student team having played regularly since 1987[19] and having competed in the 1992 Students World Cup.[20] But it was decided that the time was right for an open-age national team to attempt to be entered into an Emerging Nations Tournament that would coincide with the 1995 World Cup, that the Rugby League International Federation had recently announced.

Both Scotland Rugby League and Rugby League Ireland arranged a match on 13 August 1995 at the Royal Dublin Showground in Dublin, Ireland. However the Rugby Football League provided no financial support to either team.[21] Luckily the Scotland team managed to get sponsored, and the money was used for the ferry crossing, but each individual player had to pay for basic accommodation.[21] The Scotland squad was largely made up of players who had played in the student squads, but a few professionals were also included.

Just before the start of the match, after the Scottish team had spent a night at a youth hostel, the Irish Rugby Football Union prevented the teams from getting changed at the arranged Blackrook College.[22] A new location was quickly found but it was half a mile away from the ground, and so the players had to walk that distance in their playing kit.

The match was looking like it would be scoreless at half-time until just before the break, centre Lee Child scored to put Ireland ahead. After the break Scotland hit back, Sean Cusack scoring Scotland's first ever try. Gavin Manclark then scored to propel Scotland into the lead. This did not last long though, as Leo Casey scored for Ireland in the 55th minute. Ireland then scored again, with Seamus McCallion going over. Four minutes later in the 69th minute, Scotland quickly scored two tries with Manclark and Shelford sealing the eight points. However, this was not enough as Ketteridge had only kicked three conversions compared to Ireland's Ian Devery who had kicked five. The match finished with Ireland winning 26–22, but Thompson for Scotland did win Man of the Match.[22]

1995 Emerging Nations tournament

After this international Scotland were allowed to take part in the Emerging Nations Tournament, which was to be held in England. On 16 October 1995 at Featherstone they faced Russia, who had been playing international rugby league since 1991, in their opening game in Group A. Coached by former Great Britain and England (despite the fact he was Scottish) player, George Fairbairn,[23] who put together a team of former Scotland students, rugby union players, and a few league professionals including Alan Tait,[24] who played for Leeds, and who would captain the side.[25] The whole of the Scotland team had hired kilts to be worn pre-match.[26]

The game started off well for Scotland, student James How scoring after just four minutes.[27] And then minutes later Tait doubled the Bravehearts lead.[27] But the Russia Bears dragged themselves back into the match, stand-off Victor Netchaev scoring first, and in the 30th minute Alexander Otradnov scored.[27] Scotland were ahead though at half-time by four points because Russia had failed to convert their tries.[27] In the second half it was all Scotland with only Andrey Scheglov's drop goal adding to the Bears points.[27] On the other hand, former Great Britain international Hugh Waddell, Ali Blee and Tait again all scored to seal a Scottish victory.[28]

Group One Table W L F A PTS
Cook Islands 3 0 143 36 6
Scotland 2 1 82 46 4
Russia 1 2 57 118 2
United States 0 3 48 130 0

Scotland's second match was against the United States in Northampton, traditionally a rugby union city.[29] The Tomahawks were made up of AMNRL players but Scotland took a while to get going. In the twelfth minute winger Rory Lewis unexpected put America ahead, which caused The Bravehearts to start playing well for the remainder of the first half, Scotland eventually going into the second half leading three tries to one. Graeme Thompson had kicked a penalty very early on in the game, and then after the America try added another four points. McAlister, who had missed the conversion, set up Ketteridge and Smith for Scotland's second and third tries respectively. The Bravehearts extended their lead in the second half, Shelford going over and then David Niu, who could have played for Scotland because of his Dunfermline born mother, got one back for the States. But Scotland put a victory beyond doubt with Alan Tait setting up Shelford twice for his hat-trick. Late in the game Niu and Steve Tait scored for the United States and Scotland respectively to end the match 38–16 in Scotland's favour.[28]

Scotland's two victories, coupled with the Cook Islands ability to beat the United States and Russia too,[30][31] set up a deciding match in Castleford where the winner would reach the final. 3,000 people turned up to first see Thompson score a penalty after 15 minutes, but then Nigere Tariu slid over to put the Islanders ahead. Just before the break however, Tait charged through three players to put Scotland back in the game. In the second half the Cook Islands, with several NRL players in their ranks, showed their strength as Sonny Shepherd scored a controversial try as Scottish players complained about the grounding. From a play the ball Shepherd went over again and in the 73rd minute Tariu scored a converted try. The Bravehearts did get a late consolation, skipper Tait going over for Scotland's last try before Islander Ali Davys sealed Scotland's fate with a drop-goal. The match finished Scotland 10–21 Cook Islands.[28] In the final the Cook Islands beat Ireland 22–6 in Bury to win the tournament and secure a place in the next World Cup.[28][32] Despite losing this final match the Scotland team and supporters thought that they had done very well considering how young the team was and how good their performances had been against Russia and the USA.

Glasgow matches

In 1996 the Rugby League International Federation rewarded Scotland with full international status[33] which meant that they could start organising more fixtures and there was no longer a limit to the number of professionals they could use.[34] Before this status Scotland had been restricted to playing just three professionals in a match.[35]

The guys are all gutted about it and I am gutted for them. They had come back so well after a mediocre first half.

— Coach George Fairbairn after the match.[36]

Scotland faced Ireland again in August of that year, and it was to be their first home game, with the match being played at the Firhill Stadium in Glasgow. After 5 minutes Alan Tait touched down with Matt Crowther converting. And then hooker Danny Russell and professional Darren Shaw gave the Bravehearts a 14–0 lead at half-time. In the second half after 52 minutes Lee Hanlon scored Ireland's only try of the match, but Martin Ketteridge soon kicked a penalty for Scotland to extend the lead. In the closing stages of the match, after three Irish players had been sin-binned, Darrall Shaleford and Nick Mardon got themselves on the scoreboard with a try each. The match finished Scotland 26–6 Ireland.[37] This is the only time in eight attempts that Scotland have beaten Ireland.

A second match in Glasgow was held in July 1997 against France. The match was to end in controversy surrounding a late try and French referee Thierry Alibert. France had got off to a good start, with Freddie Banquet scoring before Danny Russell and Gary Christie scored a try each to send the Scots in front. However, with a few minutes to go before half-time, Jerome Guisset scored under the posts to give the French side a 12–10 lead after 40 minutes. After half-time France extended their lead through Fabien Devecchi but once again Scotland rallied together and Stuart McCarthy scored a crucial try, which was not converted. In the 70th minute Matt Crowther scored a try, and converted it, to put Scotland into a 20–18 lead. With just seconds remaining, a storm brewed when referee Alibert awarded a try to France's Arnauld Dulac. The Bravehearts and coaching staff said that the ball was knocked on, and therefore a scrum should have occurred.[38] English touch judge Peter Walton signalled the knock-on but play continued. The match finished Scotland 20–22 France.[39]

Clash of the Nations

The Clash of the Nations was a new tournament designed to make November 1998 a month of international league as Great Britain was touring the Southern Hemisphere. Scotland, France and Ireland would play two matches each and the winner of the two matches would be crowned champion.

Scotland first faced France in Perpignan, the first match since they were controversially denied a victory in 1996. New coach Billy McGinty promised "the strongest ever Scotland squad" and just three players survived from Scotland's last international match.[40] Débutant Jason Flowers put Scotland ahead, before France levelled the scores. But Danny Arnold once again put the Bravehearts ahead. Scotland excelled and Jason Roach further strengthened Scotland's lead before France narrowed the lead to four points at half-time. In the 55th minute France scored to take the lead for the first time in the match. Roach got his second try, but France retaliated by scoring one of their own. Ten minutes from full-time France scored another try to confirm the two points.[41] The match finished France 26–22 Scotland, with Lee Penny earning Man of the Match award.

France went onto beat Ireland in their second match, therefore clinching the trophy, however Scotland still played Ireland in Glasgow, the first meeting between these nations since 1995. The first half was to prove uneventful, with Ireland scoring a single try to make the score 6–0 after 40 minutes. On the 46th minute Ireland drifted into a 10-point lead, but John Duffy kept the Bravehearts in the match with 20 minutes of the match remaining. Logan Campbell got a try for Scotland but then Ireland scored another, a drop-goal to win the match 17–10. Colin Wilson was awarded the Man of the Match award, and significantly became the first player from the Scottish Conference domestic league to represent Scotland.

With two defeats from the tournament Scotland finished bottom of the table.[42]

Triangular Challenge

England have competed in 26 European Nations Cups, the first in 1935. In the past the tournament has been axed and revived many times, and it was stopped for six years because of the Second World War. From 1935 to 1949 (minus the war years) England played France and Wales annually, and won the tournament in 1935, 1946, 1947 and 1948. From 1950 to 1956 an Other Nationalities team were added as the fourth team in the competition (except in 1956 when Wales did not field a team). During those years England won in 1950 and 1954. Since then the tournament has run for some seasons, but never for more than five years at a time. But from 1970 to 1996 England won it six out of a possible nine times. In 2003 the tournament was revived and England comfortably won, beating her old rivals plus Scotland, Ireland and Russia. England beat the same opponents to win the cup again in 2004. This was the last time England competed, they were replaced by Georgia. The cup ran for just one more year before it was axed again. It has not since returned. In total England have won the cup fourteen times.

With The Clash of the Nations tournament over, the Celtic nations were to play each other once over October and November in a new competition. The matches were to coincide with the Great Britain versus Australia matches, in which Great Britain ended up being badly beaten. Dale Laughton was the only Scotman in the Great Britain team and so the Bravehearts didn't suffer from withdrawals as much as Ireland and Wales did.[43] It is generally regarded that the Rugby Football League made the same mistakes as the 1998 tournament with matches being held on Friday nights and competing against both the football and rugby union seasons and consequently attendances were very low for the matches.[43] The first of Scotland's matches was against Wales in which many of the best Welsh players were with Great Britain. Scotland took the lead through Danny Arnold but The Dragons quickly made the game level. Captain Danny Russell went over for Scotland's second try, but once again Wales hit back within minutes. Andrew Lambert scored just before half-time for The Bravehearts but the lead did not last long after the break with Wales scoring. However, the Welsh were unable to reply to the next four tries, with Mike Wainwright and Matt Crowther each getting themselves onto the scoreboard and both Lambert and Arnold getting their second tries.[44] A win or a draw would seal Scotland's place at the top of the table but Ireland mixture of Super League and local players were too good for Scotland. They raced into a ten-point lead before Russell and Arnold, with Crowther converting one, allowed Scotland to claw their way back into the match. In the final quarter the Bravehearts fell apart, leaking in 21 points to lose the match.[45]


2000 World Cup

Main article: 2000 Rugby League World Cup

Scotland were placed in Group 4 in the 16-team Rugby League World Cup for 2000, which was held in the United Kingdom and France.[46] This meant that they would face Ireland, Samoa and New Zealand Maori, with one match being played at Glasgow, and one match being played in Edinburgh. Out of the four teams, two would then qualify for the Quarter Finals, playing the top teams from other groups.[47] The Scots World Cup campaign was criticised though, before the tournament was even started when the 24-man squad was named, as not one of the players were born in Scotland.[48]

In their first match after the World Cup campaign, Scotland faced France in the southern French town of Lézignan-Corbières. Shaun McRae, citing his domestic coaching at Hull FC,[49] departed as Scotland coach and Glasgow-born Billy McGinty took over the role with the then Swinton Lions coach and former Great Britain player Mike Gregory taking the role of assistant coach.[50][51] The squad for this match included 13 survivors from the World Cup matches and three new players who were each earning their first international cap.[52] The Scots got off to a great start, scoring three tries in the first 13 minutes and never looked back as they won the match 42–20.[53] The heat in the French summer was thought to be a problem going into the match, but Scotland scored seven tries in total to record their first win against the French and arguably their best win yet in international competition.[54] Two tries each were scored by Danny Arnold and Jason Flowers, and Matt Crowther converted all seven tries. Seven years later this victory is Scotland's biggest win and is still recognised as one of their best amongst supporters.

European Cup

Scotland joined the prestigious European Nations Cup tournament in 2003, now being regarded as the seventh best national nation.[55] This newly expanded competition, which also featured Russia and Ireland for the first time,[56] as well as England A, France and Wales, was split into two groups with the winner of each group playing each other to become the competition's champions. Scotland were placed in a group with rivals Ireland and France. In May 2003, several months before the start of the tournament, Scotland Rugby League announced that Mike Gregory would become the new coach of the Scottish team, with David Lyon being appointed as his assistant.[57] However it was later announced that due to Mike Gregorys commitments to Wigan Warriors, McGinty will continue to coach the side.[58] Scotland's first match was against Ireland at Old Anniesland. The Scots lost by just two points, with Lee Penny, Danny Arnold and Jason Roach all scoring tries for Scotland, but John Duffy had missed one of his crucial four goals.[59] Scotland were 12–2 up after 21 minutes and were level at half-time, but Irish substitute Karl Fitzpatrick gave the Wolfhounds the win in the last few minutes of the match.[60] With France then beating Ireland in Dublin, Scotland now knew that they could clinch first place. The match held in Narbonne, between France and Scotland turned out to be closely fought. However, the Scots came out on top with an Andrew Henderson try and two Oliver Wilkes goals sealing the victory by two points.[61] This scoreline meant that all three teams had finished on two points, but it was France, with the better points difference, that went on to face England in the final.[62]

The 2004 competition followed the same plan but this time the Bravehearts were with Ireland and Wales. These two teams had already played each other a week earlier with the result and Irish victory.[63] Both sides scored four tries, but it was the kicking of Danny Brough that helped Scotland to beat the Dragons by 30 points to 22 in Glasgow.[64] The match drew over a thousand spectators and was the first time Scotland had won at home for five years.[65][66] Just five days later though, the team had to play their second game against the Irish Wolfhounds in Ireland. Despite a try from Spencer Miller and three successful kicks by Danny Brough, the Irish ran out easy winners with the match ending 43–10 and thus ending Scotlands campaign in the cup.[67][68]

2008 World Cup Qualifying

Main article: 2008 Rugby League World Cup qualifying

On 17 May 2006 Scotland received word that they would play two matches against Wales for a place in the 2008 World Cup.[69] The two matches of Group 1 (there were two European groups) would be contested in late 2006 and 2007, with the first being in Bridgend and the second being in Glasgow.[70]

Before the first match, coach Steve McCormack had time with the players in training camps in Huddersfield and Swansea, and admitted that he was not threatened by the likes of Super League giants Iestyn Harris and Lee Briers in the Welsh team.[71] This is despite many fans and journalists favouring the Dragons to easily win.[72] McCormack later named his squad for the match, which included a mixture of Super League, National League and Rugby League Conference players.[73] Five of them would be making their début, but long-serving player Ian Henderson, who had played in every Scottish match since 2001, was unable to play for in this match.[73]

Scotland started well in Bridgend with Wade Liddell giving the Bravehearts the lead after just 8 minutes. This try was converted by Gareth Morton. But things got bad as Wales pulled a try back through Richard Johnson, and then Danny Brough was sinbinned for dissent on 26 minutes. In the next ten minutes a Wales team minus Iestyn Harris, who failed a fitness test prior to the match,[74] capitalised on Scotland's shortfall and scored two tries to create a 14–6 lead going into half-time.[75] However, after the break the Scots immediately got back into the match, Danny Brough singlehandedly scoring a try after 70 seconds of the interval, and Jamie Benn a little later leeching on to a grubber kick. Mick Nanyn missed both conversions and so the scores were tied. On the 67th minute Scotland went in front, Nanyn converting his own try. And to seal a 21–14 victory Danny Brough scored a drop-goal.[76] He would later get Man of the Match award.[77]

To prepare for the second qualification match, Scotland travelled to Perpignan to play test nation France. Scotland rested several key players, like Danny Brough and Ian Henderson,[78] and gave caps to six début players.[79][80] It turned out to be a bad decision as Scotland suffered their heaviest defeat in their history. After 15 minutes Scotland were trailing 18–0,[81] and despite tries from Benn, Nanyn and Paterson, plus two successful conversions from Nanyn, France were always well ahead. The match finished France 46–16 Scotland.[82]

Before the second qualification match in Glasgow, Wales were still confident of victory with the Dragons assistant coach Kevin Ellis saying that his Welsh team had some fantastic players, and that it was the best since Wales golden era of 1991–1995.[83] But Scotland had the advantage going into the match, for a win or draw or even a small loss would guarantee them a place in the cup. Before the match Danny Brough was announced as captain before the match, thus earning his sixth cap too.[84]

In the first half of the match Wales were on top, with Scotland only managing to score four points overall, two penalties by Danny Brough. Richard Fletcher had been carried off after an aerial collision, which caused the game to be stopped for six minutes.[85] At half time the score was 14–4 in favour of the Dragons, meaning Scotland would not qualify.[86] In the 52nd minute Ben Fisher darted over the line to score Scotland's first try. Importantly this was converted by Danny Brough.[87] And with seven minutes remaining Jamie Benn latched onto Mick Nanyn's speculative pass to score Scotland's second try,[88] which Brough converted. Wales scored late on but it was not enough. The match finished Scotland 16–18 Wales,[89] with an aggregate score of Scotland 37–32,[90] and Mick Nanyn received Man of the Match award.[91]

2008 World Cup

On 9 July 2008, Scotland Rugby League announced that Steve McCormack had signed a 12-month deal to continue his job as head coach of the Scotland team.[92][93][94] Danny Brough will continue to skipper the team into the World Cup, providing he stays fit.[95] Except for Edinburgh Eagles stand-off Paddy Couper, all of the Scottish team's players were selected under the grandparent rule.[96] In the group stage they made history as they finally won a game and it was against Fiji who were demolishing opponents courtesy of superstars such as Jarryd Hayne.[97] But that is as far as they finished in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup because their points differential was worse than Fiji's and France who were also in their group and were demolished by them in their first game of the 2008 campaign. Several NRL and Super League stars were in McCormack's team for the tournament including Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles winger/fullback Michael Robertson who had scored 3 tries in Manly's 40–0 triumph over the Melbourne Storm in the 2008 NRL Grand Final just prior to the tournament as well as crossing for 18 tries in the 2008 NRL season.


2013 World Cup

No Qualification was required for the Bravehearts for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup due to participating in the 2008 tournament. They were drawn in pool C alongside World Cup debutantes Italy and the powerful forwards and fast backs of Tonga. Every team needed to play 3 group games each so Scotland would also play an inter-group game against the other World Cup debutantes the United States. The Scots were underdogs against the Pacific Island nation who were full of NRL talent. But Scotland, in front of a record crowd at Derwent Park made another upset (like Fiji five years ago) winning a tough match by only a two-point margin at the end of the match. Scotland's second match was against the Italians at the same venue in front of more than 7,000 fans again who this time witnessed a high scoring draw. Scotland then finished their group stage by beating the United States convincingly. Scotland had almost qualified for the World Cup knockout stage for the first ever time but Italy were still within a chance to finish above Scotland and therefore eliminate Scotland's chances from progressing any further in the 2013 tournament. Italy only needed to win after they were also on 16+ points differential and they were facing Tonga who had absolutely nothing at stake but pride to play for. But, a shock to all, Tonga outclassed the Italians and eliminated them from participating any further in the competition. In the quarter-final they had a rare clash with a rugby league heavyweight. They took on New Zealand in Leeds in front of their biggest attendance away from Scotland. Despite their early defensive pressure that the crowd loved to cheer out loud for, Scotland's lack of experience against the heavyweight nations showed on the scoreboard and were therefore eliminated in a pleasing World Cup performance.[98]

2010s European Cup

In 2010 the European Cup reverted to the 'League Leaders' being the winners rather than having final games like the 2000s decade. In the 2010 European Cup and 2012 European Cup competitions Scotland only managed to finish third in each tournament recording with only one total victory.

In October and November 2014, 2013 Super League Man of Steel Award winner and RLIF International Player of the Year shortlist award finalist Danny Brough led Scotland in the 2014 European Cup. He shared his belief saying that Scotland have the quality and deserve playing at a higher International level after the 2013 Rugby League World Cup performance.[99] The Winner of the tournament would qualify to play in the 2016 Four Nations alongside International heavyweights Australia, England and New Zealand. Brough played at his best throughout the tournament, earning him the 'Player of the Tournament' award.[100] His performances and leadership inspired and influenced the team to qualify for 2016's major international rugby league competition.

2016 Four Nations

Scotland qualified for the 2016 Four Nations series and would be co hosts with England.

2017 World Cup

After making the finals of the 2013 tournament, Scotland automatically qualified for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[101]

2021 World Cup

After losing to Italy in the opening group stage match at the tournament 28-4, Scotland suffered their worst ever defeat as a rugby league nation losing 84-0 to Australia in the second group stage game at Coventry.[102] In the final group stage match, Scotland were defeated by Fiji 30-14 which meant they exited the competition winless.[103]


This shirt was used for the two World Cup Qualifying matches against Wales.

Since their first match Scotland have always played in royal blue, with a royal blue shirt, shorts and socks. In their two World Cup qualifying matches in 2007, the Scottish flag, featuring the white cross on a blue background, was on each shoulder and also on the shirt was a white collar.[104] On the left of the shirt is the Scotland badge, and on the right is the Great Britain badge which is split into four and then has the England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland rugby league badges in a shield.[105] This is to signify Scotland's part in the Great Britain setup.

In early 2008 Scotland Rugby League announced that they had secured a five-figure sponsorship deal with The Co-operative which would see the world's largest consumer-owned businesses logo on the front of the shirts for the 2008 World Cup and for all 2009 matches too.[106][107][108]

The Scotch thistle, open and closed.

A new shirt has recently been designed for the World Cup and it is expected that fans will be able to buy it sometime in the Summer 2008.[109] Instead of the Great Britain badge on the right, there will be the World Cup logo, similar to each of the ten teams shirts. The shirt is made by German sportswear company Puma.[110]

Scotland's current kit suppliers are BLK. On the shirt, Bartercard is on the front (replacing Highland Spring as of 2017) while Match Point is on the right sleeve while on the back, Caledonian Brewery is on the top while Lucozade Sport is on the bottom.


The emblem of the Scotland team is the thistle, which is on the team's badge in a crest.[111] The thistle is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth and is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle a high chivalric order of Scotland.[112] There is also a well-known Scottish legend that in Medieval times a Viking, wanting to invade Scotland, stood on a thistle and suddenly yelped in pain, alerting the defenders of a Scottish castle. The thistle is used on the badges of many national and domestic sports teams.[113]

Current squad

See also: List of Scotland national rugby league team players

Squad selected for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Player Caps Points Club
Euan Aitken 5 4 New Zealand New Zealand Warriors
Luke Bain 3 0 Australia Parramatta Eels
Logan Bayliss-Brow 3 0 Australia Brisbane Broncos
James Bell 9 4 England St Helens R.F.C.
Ryan Brierley 9 48 England Salford Red Devils
Kieran Buchanan 4 0 England Batley Bulldogs
Lewis Clarke 5 0 Scotland Edinburgh Eagles
Davey Dixon 7 12 England Dewsbury Rams
Charlie Emslie 2 8 England Barrow Raiders
Dale Ferguson 22 24 England Dewsbury Rams
Calum Gahan 3 0 England London Broncos
Guy Graham 2 0 England Whitehaven R.L.F.C.
Bailey Hayward 2 0 Australia Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Ben Hellewell 22 32 England Featherstone Rovers
Liam Hood 10 4 England Wakefield Trinity
Kane Linnett 9 8 England Hull Kingston Rovers
Bayley Liu 2 4 England Sheffield Eagles
Sam Luckley 7 0 England Salford Red Devils
Matty Russell 13 20 France Toulouse Olympique
Kyle Schneider 3 2 Australia Mackay Cutters
Jack Teanby 3 0 England York City Knights
Shane Toal 3 8 England Barrow Raiders
Alex Walker 8 8 England London Broncos
Lachlan Walmsley 4 18 England Halifax Panthers


Most capped players

# Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 Danny Brough 2004–2017 24 4 Stand-off
2 Andrew Henderson 2003–2013 22 4 Hooker
Dale Ferguson 2010– 22 6 Prop
Ben Hellewell 2011– 22 8 Second-row
3 Ben Kavanagh 2013– 21 6 Prop


Top try scorers

# Name Career Tries Caps Position
1 Mick Nanyn 2005–2009 9 10 Centre
2 Danny Arnold 1998–2003 8 9 Wing
3 Ben Fisher 2005–2013 6 15 Hooker
4 Matty Russell 2013– 5 7 Wing
5 Danny Brough 2004– 4 22 Stand-off

Player of the Year

Since 2004, the Scottish management team have given the Dave Valentine Award to their player of the year.[115] The award uses a voting system and is given to the player in early January.[116][117][118][119]

Year Player Club
2004 Chris Birchall Halifax
2005 Jon Steel Hull Kingston Rovers
2006 Neil Lowe Doncaster
2007 Duncan MacGillivray Wakefield Trinity
2008 Iain Morrison Widnes Vikings
2009 Mick Nanyn Leigh Centurions
2010 Dale Ferguson Wakefield Trinity
2011 John Duffy Leigh Centurions
2012 Ben Fisher Catalans Dragons
2013 Luke Douglas Gold Coast Titans
2014 Danny Brough Huddersfield Giants
2015 David Scott Doncaster
2016 Adam Walker St Helens
2017 Danny Addy Hull Kingston Rovers
2018 James Bell New Zealand Warriors
2019 Callum McLelland Leeds Rhinos

Competitive Record

Main article: Scotland national rugby league team match results

In 22 years of international rugby league Scotland have played 51 matches, winning 37% of them. Their most regular opponent has been Ireland, who similarly starting playing Rugby League in the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Great Britain team split into the separate home nations. This means that Scotland only started playing rugby league as an individual nation at this time and played their first ever game against Ireland at RDS Arena, Dublin. The Irish won by a close score of 26–22 in front of 5,716 fans. Scotland have gone on to play Ireland the most times with 13 games, winning only four of these games.

Scotland have played France and Wales 11 and 9 times respectively. Along with Ireland, these are the only teams that Scotland play on a regular basis. Despite playing these home nations a number of times, they have only played England on one occasion, although they have also played England's 2nd team, 'the Knights', twice. Excluding the aforementioned teams, Scotland have played 16 other teams in their history, but have not played more than three games against any of them. Scotland have a 100% win record against six of these 16 teams. In their history, they have drawn four games, including a 30–30 result against Italy during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, having previously beaten them in by a resounding score of 104–0. Scotland's 18-18 result against New Zealand during the 2016 Four Nations was considered one of the greatest results in international rugby league history and ensured that Scotland became the only 'fourth' nation in Four Nations history to not be defeated by another team.

Scotland's highest home attendance is just 2,233. This game was only their second and saw them defeated 22–20 by France at Firhill Park, Glasgow. Rugby league is not a major sport in Scotland and home attendances average at around just 1,000. Scotland's highest away attendance was much more when a crowd of 21,009 saw them defeated by 38–12 against England during the 2016 Four Nations, this game being held at Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Head to head record for the Scotland national side as of 30 October 2022.[120]

Against Played Won Drawn Lost Pts for Pts against Pts diff % Won
 Australia 2 0 0 2 12 138 –126 0%
 Cook Islands 1 0 0 1 10 21 –11 0%
Cumbria Cumbria Select XIII 1 1 0 0 48 16 +32 100%
 England 1 0 0 1 12 38 –26 0%
England England Knights 2 0 0 2 28 90 –62 0%
 Fiji 2 1 0 1 42 46 –4 50%
 France 11 2 0 9 198 326 –128 18.18%
 Greece 1 1 0 0 42 24 +18 100%
 Ireland 14 4 0 10 255 299 –44 28%
 Italy 3 1 1 1 138 58 +80 33%
 Jamaica 1 0 1 0 30 30 0 0%
 Lebanon 1 1 0 0 22 10 +12 100%
 Māori 1 0 0 1 16 17 –1 0%
 New Zealand 3 0 1 2 28 132 –104 33.33%
 Papua New Guinea 1 0 0 1 20 38 –18 0%
 Russia 1 1 0 0 34 9 +25 100%
 Samoa 2 0 1 1 26 34 –8 0%
 Serbia 1 1 0 0 86 0 +86 100%
 Tonga 3 1 0 2 30 122 –92 33%
 United States 2 2 0 0 60 24 +36 100%
 Wales 10 4 0 6 221 266 –45 40%
Total 64 20 4 40 1348 1738 –390 31.25%

World Cup

Scotland made their World Cup debut at the 2000 World Cup having previously competed as part of Great Britain. Their best result was in 2013 when they reached the Quarter Finals.

World Cup Record
Year Round Position Pld
France 1954 Competed as United Kingdom Great Britain
Australia 1957
England 1960
Australia New Zealand 1968
England 1970
France 1972
Australia New Zealand 1977
England 1995
England Ireland FranceScotlandWales 2000 Group Stage 13th out of 16 3
Australia 2008 Group Stage 6th out of 10 4
England Wales 2013 Quarter-final 7th out of 14 4
Australia New ZealandPapua New Guinea 2017 Group Stage 11th out of 14 3
England 2021 Group Stage 14th out of 16 3

European Championship

Main article: Rugby League European Championship

European Championship record
Year** Division Round Pos Pld W D L
2003 A Group Stage 3rd 2 1 0 1
2004 A Group Stage 3rd 2 1 0 1
2005 A Group Stage 6th 2 0 0 2
2009 A Runners Up 2nd 3 2 0 1
2010 A Third Place 3rd 3 1 0 2
2012 A Third Place 3rd 2 0 0 2
2014 A Champions 1st 3 2 0 1
2015 A Fourth Place 4th 3 0 0 3
2018 A Fourth Place 4th 3 0 0 3
2023 A 0 0 0 0
Total 1 Championship 23 7 0 16
  Champions    Runners-up    Promoted    Relegated

Four Nations

Scotland have only qualified for one Four Nations tournament where they made history by becoming the first fourth nation to earn a point after an 18–18 draw against New Zealand.

Four Nations Record
Year Round Position Pld W L D
England France 2009 did not qualify
Australia New Zealand 2010 did not enter
England Wales 2011 did not qualify
Australia New Zealand 2014 did not enter
England 2016 Fourth Place 4/4 3 0 2 1


Name Tenure Matches Won Drew Lost Win %
Scotland George Fairbairn 1995-1997 6 3 0 3 50%
Scotland Billy McGinty 1998-1998 2 0 0 2 0%
Australia Shaun McRae 1999-2000 5 1 0 4 20%
Scotland Billy McGinty 2001-2003 3 2 0 1 66%
England Steve McCormack 2004-2017 35 12 2 21 34.3%
Scotland John Duffy
England Chris Chester
2018 – 2018 3 0 0 3 0%
Scotland Nathan Graham 2019 – Present 3 2 1 0 66.7%


World Cup merchandise for fans.

Main article: Sport in Scotland

See also: Rugby league in Scotland

Rugby League is a minor sport in Scotland, with the country never having had a professional club.[121] Participation in rugby league has increased though, with a Scottish division in the Rugby League Conference with seven teams,[122] including four in the Glasgow/West Scotland area[123][124][125][126] having formed in 2006. But, unlike in England, rugby league is not one of the ten most played sports in Scotland amongst adults.[127] Junior development has been much more rapid, with several Conference teams having junior squads as well as other clubs who don't run an open-age squad having various junior squads. An estimated 2,500 children play rugby league in Scotland,[128] with that figure growing to 12,500 when you add the number of children who play the sport in various school programmes.[128][129][130] In terms of media coverage, apart from Challenge Cup matches rugby league is not shown on Scottish terrestrial television and no matches are usually broadcast on radio. However, Scotland international matches usually get reported in national newspapers like The Scotsman and sometimes in Scottish editions of London-based newspapers.

In 2009, the Magic Weekend was held at Murrayfield with a two-day attendance of 60,000 spectators, including ticket sales of just under 7,000 in Scotland alone, making the event a success.[131][132]


Official rankings as of 21 December 2023
Rank Change Team Pts %
1 Steady  Australia 100.00
2 Steady  New Zealand 91.00
3 Increase 1  England 74.00
4 Decrease 1  Samoa 70.00
5 Steady  Tonga 54.00
6 Steady  Papua New Guinea 50.00
7 Steady  Fiji 49.00
8 Increase 1  France 24.00
9 Decrease 1  Lebanon 24.00
10 Increase 3  Cook Islands 22.00
11 Decrease 1  Serbia 19.00
12 Increase 6  Netherlands 17.00
13 Increase 1  Italy 15.00
14 Increase 5  Malta 15.00
15 Increase 1  Greece 14.00
16 Decrease 4  Ireland 14.00
17 Decrease 6  Wales 13.00
18 Decrease 3  Jamaica 10.00
19 Decrease 2  Scotland 9.00
20 Increase 8  Ukraine 7.00
21 Increase 6  Czech Republic 7.00
22 Decrease 1  Germany 6.00
23 Increase 10  Philippines 6.00
24 Increase 5  Poland 6.00
25 Increase 1  South Africa 5.00
26 Decrease 4  Chile 5.00
27 Increase 4  Kenya 0.00
28 Increase 6  Norway 4.00
29 Decrease 6  Nigeria 4.00
30 Decrease 6  Ghana 4.00
31 Decrease 6  Brazil 4.00
32 Decrease 12  Turkey 3.00
33 Increase 4  United States 3.00
34 Increase 1  Bulgaria 3.00
35 Decrease 5  Cameroon 2.00
36 Increase 2  Montenegro 2.00
37 Decrease 5  Spain 2.00
38 Increase 6  Japan 1.00
39 New entry  Albania 1.00
40 Decrease 4  Colombia 1.00
41 Increase 6  El Salvador 1.00
42 New entry  North Macedonia 1.00
43 Decrease 1  Morocco 1.00
44 Decrease 3  Sweden 0.00
45 Steady  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.00
46 Decrease 3  Canada 0.00
47 New entry  Niue 0.00
48 Decrease 9  Solomon Islands 0.00
49 Decrease 1  Belgium 0.00
50 Decrease 10  Hungary 0.00
51 Decrease 5  Vanuatu 0.00
52 Decrease 3  Argentina 0.00
53 Decrease 3  Denmark 0.00
54 Decrease 3  Latvia 0.00
55 New entry  Estonia 0.00
Complete rankings at INTRL.SPORT




Other Scottish Teams

Main article: Scotland A national rugby league team

The Scotland A national rugby league team nicknamed the Bravehearts is made up of amateur players, who either play in the Rugby League Conference the BUCS university league or the Scottish domestic competition.[133][134][135] Napier University has also played a huge part in the team, with many Napier students having played in the side over the years.[136] The team regularly compete against England, Wales and Ireland, playing them annually in the Skanska Amateur Four Nations. Since the creation of this tournament, in 2002, Scotland have won it just once in 2010. In 2003 Scotland embarked on a mini tour of Europe playing in Netherlands, Italy and Serbia, helping expand rugby league in those country by playing domestic and national sides.[137] Former player and winner in 2010 Mike Wallace currently coaches the side.[138]

They also support a whole host of development teams:

See also




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