Vernon won his first cap for Scotland as a replacement in the Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Test win against Fiji at Murrayfield in November 2009.
Further replacement appearances followed in the two other matches in that Murrayfield series, including in the memorable win against Australia. A year on he made his first Scotland start against New Zealand, after which it would be aorund two years until his next senior representative appearances, as part of the ferocious Scotland A back-row in the 2013 victory over England Saxons, the first on English soil on the sixth time of trying (13-9).
In 2008 he had marked his debut for Scotland A by scoring two tries in the 69-3 victory against Georgia at Firhill, Glasgow, in November 2008. Two more Scotland A games followed seven months later when he played in the IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest, scoring the crucial try in the 22-12 win against France A in the trophy decider. In February 2010 Richie also featured in the Scotland A team that played Italy A in Biella. Previously, he had had international honours at under-18, under-19, and under-20 as well as in sevens for Scotland and Great Britain.
Richie joined Border Reivers as an apprentice in summer 2006 and made his professional debut in January 2007 in the Heineken Cup match against Northampton Saints at Murrayfield. The following month he was at No.8 for Scotland in the under-20 internationals against England and Wales, and in the summer that year he moved from Reivers to Glasgow Warriors.
He joined the Scotland sevens squad for the IRB’s Dubai and George (South Africa) tournaments in 2005, and he returned to the squad to be an ever-present in the eight tournaments in 2007-2008. He scored three of the Scots’ nine tries in the San Diego (USA) tournament and then notched five in the Twickenham event plus three a week later at Murrayfield before injury forced him to miss the last two ties. In April 2008 he was in the Scottish Thistles’ squad who won the prestigious Melrose sevens, and 10 months later he returned to the national sevens squad for the IRB’s tournaments in Wellington (New Zealand) and San Diego (USA). Richie was also in the Great Britain sevens squad in the 2005 World Games in Duisburg, Germany.
Later that year he scored a try against Italy on his under-19 international debut, and he went on to form an ever-present second-row partnership with Steve Turnbull throughout Scotland’s four matches in season 2005-2006. Richie was also an ever-present in the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Dubai in April 2006. He was Scotland’s top try-scorer in that tournament with four – two against Japan and one each against Romania and Samoa.
The High School of Dundee former pupil has played also for Caledonia under-16 and under-18.