In 20 years of the professional rugby age you could probably count the good news stories in the Scottish game on the fingers of 1 hand – or both hands if you were being generous.
This past week has been huge, however. Nobody is extrapolating Test match glory from Glasgow’s PRO12 skilful and clinical victory over Munster in Belfast last Saturday, but it was an uplifting occasion nonetheless.
On Thursday, Mark Dodson, the chief executive of Scottish Rugby, spoke about the union’s latest rugby academy, operating out of Edinburgh Napier University. The Edinburgh programme is run alongside others in Cumbernauld, Aberdeen and the Borders and all are for players age 14 and up.
Kelly Brown is determined to work his way back into the Scotland squad after being overlooked for the Six Nations.
The 32-year-old former captain failed to make Vern Cotter’s 32-man pool but is convinced he can still add to his 64 caps.
“It’s clearly disappointing, but selection is a funny thing,” Brown said.
“I want to play for Scotland and I certainly feel I can play for Scotland. I don’t feel over the hill yet.”
Saracens flanker Brown began last season’s Six Nations campaign as captain, although he was dropped later in the tournament. Since then Cotter has replaced Scott Johnson as head coach and Brown believes he has plenty still to offer, with the World Cup later in the year.
Brown has played once under Cotter, in a 19-17 win over Canada in June, but was not selected for the Autumn internationals.
The rugby year has not pegged out just yet but, even before the first of the thunderous 1872 Cup clashes between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the sport seems to have lapsed into reflective mode.
So, too, your correspondent, croaking towards 2014’s finishing line in a clapped-out but generally contented frame of mind. So when the stockings have been hung, I shall allow myself a few moments of rheumy-eyed and entirely random reflection on what made this twelve-month memorable .
Scottish Rugby today unveiled the first of at least four BT Sport Academies that will be opened around the country to nurture the best young Scottish talent to become the stars of tomorrow.
Where Caledonia leads today, the Borders, East and West will follow with all being operational by the 2015-16 season.
“The Academies are the cornerstone of our determination to create a new era for Scottish Rugby,” declared chief executive Mark Dodson at the opening of the Caledonia Academy at the University of Aberdeen’s Hillhead campus.
Stuart Hogg will face a disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday after being sent off during Scotland’s 51-3 Six Nations defeat against Wales.
Full-back Hogg was shown a red card for a late challenge on fly-half Dan Biggar in the 22nd minute on Saturday.
Scotland have made three changes to their pack, among which Kelly Brown is recalled as captain, for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against France at Murrayfield.
Top-level sport is often decided by small margins. Take the events in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
Scotland trailed Italy 20-18 with the clock showing that 79 minutes had elapsed. Scotland had one chance to snatch a desperately-needed win.
Scotland have made four changes to their starting XV and a further positional switch in their team to open the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship away to Ireland on Sunday.
The Scotland squad came together yesterday with head coach Scott Johnson’s first task being to re-focus minds away from Heineken Cup disappointments and on to a Six Nations Championship.
Kelly Brown has been told the Scotland captaincy is his to keep – if he proves himself as their best openside flanker. Head coach Scott Johnson has named the 31-year-old Saracens skipper every time he has played.
Euan Murray’s hopes of being involved in Scotland’s Six Nations campaign were hanging in the balance last night. The veteran Lions prop will be out of action for another month after suffering Achilles tendon damage during the autumn Test series.
When interim head coach Scott Johnson and the rest of the Scotland management group sit down to select the team to play Ireland in Dublin on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, one name that will not be bandied about is that of Tommy Allan, despite the player having turned out for the Scotland Under 17, 18 and Under 20 teams.
Scotland have made four changes to their pack and finalized their back division for Saturday’s viagogo Autumn Test against Australia, having declared winger Tommy Seymour fit to play and take his spot in the starting line up.
Kieran Low is not one to beat about the bush. The 22-year-old was born in the south of England and grew up in Chichester with a Welsh-born father and mother who hails from Scunthorpe, but if he is handed an opportunity to stride out on to Murrayfield this autumn, one that he never grew up dreaming of, it will be the highlight of his life so far.
Edinburgh Rugby back-row Stuart McInally has set his sights on the career path travelled by fellow club player, Scotland and British & Irish Lions internationalist Ross Ford – to make the positional switch from back-row to hooker.
Scotland have made three changes in their starting team for their 11th and final international of the season against Italy in Pretoria on Saturday. There are six Glasgow Warriors in the starting XV and five on the bench for the final game of the tour.
Rob Harley has been called into the Scotland squad as injury cover after fellow forward Jim Hamilton returned home to be with his expectant wife.
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson questioned Jim Hamilton’s sin-binning in the defeat by South Africa. The Springboks moved into a second-half lead shortly after Hamilton had been yellow-carded for a push into the face of Eben Etzebeth.
After fielding six debutants in last weekend’s Test against Samoa, Scotland have named three more new caps in their team to play South Africa at Nelspruit on Saturday.
The announcement of the Scotland squad to face the Springboks in the Castle Lager Incoming Series at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday has been delayed due to a spate of injuries picked up by Scotland players in last Saturday’s bruising encounter against Samoa in Durban.
Scotland prop Ryan Grant has been called into the British and Irish Lions squad ahead of the clash with Queensland Reds. The Glasgow loose-head had been in South Africa with Scotland for a quadrangular tournament.
Scotland will field three new caps in their team for Saturday’s international against Samoa in Durban, the first of their three games in the Castle Lager Incoming Series. The debutants are 24-year-old Edinburgh Rugby full-back Greig Tonks and the Glasgow Warriors duo, centre Alex Dunbar, 23 and hooker Pat MacArthur, 26.
Vern Cotter is to become Scotland’s next head coach – but at present will not be available until his contract with Clermont Auvergne ends in 2014. Unless an early release is negotiated for the New Zealander, Scott Johnson will remain head coach until next June.
Scott Johnson, the current head coach of the Scotland team has been appointed Director of Rugby for Scottish Rugby. The post has been described by Scottish Rugby as “absolutely integral to Scotland’s standing on the world stage in the next decade and beyond.”
A man who has steered his club to the most league titles in Celtic rugby has today been appointed to the position of Scotland forwards coach.
Jonathan Humphreys, the former Welsh hooker and captain, will join the Scotland management ahead of the quadrangular tournament with Samoa, South Africa and Italy in June. He will be on a two year contract.
Grant Gilchrist, the 22-year-old Edinburgh Rugby lock, will win his first cap for Scotland in Saturday’s final 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship match against France in Paris.
Gilchrist, the 6ft 8ins product of the Alloa and Stirling County clubs, replaces the injured Richie Gray. The only other change to the starting line-up sees the experienced Alasdair Strokosch preferred to Rob Harley at blindside flanker.
Scotland award a debut to wing Sean Maitland, give a first start in six years to his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Dougie Hall at hooker and recall No 8 Johnnie Beattie in their team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against England at Twickenham.
Scotland’s interim head coach Scott Johnson stressed at the RBS 6 Nations Championship official launch in London today that he would not “chase rainbows” during the course of the competition.
Two former international forwards will join interim head coach Scott Johnson’s Scotland management team for this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship. Meanwhile, two ex-Scotland locks will join forces with a former Scotland stand-off to coach the Scotland A team.
Erstwhile England No 8 Dean Ryan and Scotland hooker Stevie Scott will work alongside Johnson, defence coach Matt Taylor and specialist coaches Duncan Hodge and Massimo Cuttitta with the national team.
Scott Johnson, Scotland’s senior assistant coach, will take on the role of interim head coach for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship and the summer tour of South Africa.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button told the story of a man who lived his life backwards, being born an old man before dying many years later as a newborn baby. Johnnie Beattie is doing something similar with his rugby career.
Former Glasgow Warriors boss Lineen, a member of the Scotland Grand Slam winning side of 1990, is one of the favourites to take over from Robinson who quit after Saturday’s humiliating defeat to Tonga.