William Webb Ellis is credited with being the first person to pick up a football and run with it in hand. He is reported to have done this at Rugby School in 1883 in an effort to put some life into a boring football game. As in many of the United Kingdom's traditional games, Scotland found itself at the heart of rugby's development.
The kicking and handling ball game saw considerable development during the mid 19th century with a form of rugby being played in many Scottish universities, colleges and public schools. Formal rules were established in 1848.
In March 1871 the first international match was played between Scotland and England. The game took place on the Edinburgh Academy cricket field at Raeburn Place. The Scots won by one goal. The Scotland v England game became an annual event and up to this very day is enormously popular with rugby going enthusiasts from both sides of the border.
The Scottish Rugby Union (or as it was known at the time, The Scottish Football Union) was formed in 1873. After first of all establishing itself at its own ground at Inverleith in 1899 it went on to purchase 19 acres of ground at Murrayfield in 1922. These early and tentative beginnings led to the development of the magnificent stadium that now stands on the Murrayfield site and is a recognised landmark throughout the rugby-playing world.
In April 1883 Scots played the first game of rugby sevens. This was at the suggestion of Ned Haig to help raise funds for his club Melrose. This version of the game is now played and enjoyed across the globe and is responsible for bringing many new players and spectators into the sport.
Over the years the S.R.U. continued to develop both Murrayfield as a venue and the way the game was played. The installation of an electric blanket at the ground guaranteed that, despite the vagaries of the Scottish climate, the game would go on. In 1960 Scotland organised a short tour of South Africa. The first home nation to tour abroad.
Scotland won their first Grand Slam in 1925 in their first ever game at Murrayfield. Fittingly it was England that they beat 14 - 11 in the final game of the championship having already beaten France at Inverleith, Wales at Swansea and Ireland in Dublin.
It was a long wait until 1984 before this feat was repeated. And what Scottish fan could forget the David Sole 'walk on' in 1990 which resulted in a 13 - 7 victory against England seeing Scotland once again lifting the Grand Slam honours.
In recent years the game of rugby has gone through traumatic times with the development of professionalism on the players side and a restructuring at district level. However with a magnificent national stadium and with the S.R.U. pledging to invest £7.25m in Scottish Rugby at all levels, the foundations are being built that will ensure that Scotland will continue to play its part in the worldwide development of the game.