Ruaridh James Howard Jackson scored his first points for Scotland in dramatic circumstances at Pittodrie Stadium in his home city of Aberdeen. He slotted a penalty from the 22 metre line with the last kick of the match to seal victory over Samoa in the final EMC Autumn Test of 2010.
Earlier in the series he made his Scotland debut as a second-half substitute for Dan Parks in the Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield. In the 2011 RBS 6 Nations Championship Jackson was chosen as starting Scotland stand-off for the first time in the home game against Ireland and followed that up by landing his first drop-goal for Scotland in the narrow Calcutta Cup loss at Twickenham.
He scored a stunning second drop goal, plus his second penalty, in Wellington in the narrow 12-13 loss to Argentina during RWC 2011 but his World Cup participation stalled when he pulled up with a hamstring issue four minutes into the final pool game against England.
In 2008 he made his Scotland A debut as full back in the win against Georgia by 69-3 at Firhill, Glasgow. For his second Scotland A match, against the Irish three months later at the RDS, Dublin, he was in his favoured position at stand-off, scoring a conversion and a penalty goal. Two weeks later he was at inside centre in the 22-all draw with Italy in the A international at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Three more Scotland A appearances followed in June 2009, when he scored 26 points in starting at stand-off in the wins against Russia and France A in the IRB Nations Cup success in Bucharest. Jackson has since represented Scotland A in two games against Ireland A and Italy A in 2010.
A month after his Scotland A debut Ruaridh had his first start at stand-off for Glasgow Warriors, marking the occasion with a try in the Heineken Cup match against Bath at the Recreation Ground, and the following January he was included in Scotland’s squad for the first time, being among those to prepare for the Six Nations Championship. Before joining Warriors on a full-time contract in May 2008 he had played international rugby at under-18, under-19, and under-20 levels as well as seven-a-sides.
His first international sevens appearance for Scotland was in the opening tournament of the IRB’s 2006-2007 world series in Dubai. He was in the squad also for the subsequent tournament in George (South Africa) and the series finale at Murrayfield. In October 2007 he was in the Rugby Ecosse Scotland squad in the Singapore sevens, and that was followed with selection for the IRB World Sevens Series tournaments in Dubai and George. In Dubai he had a try in each of three successive matches, including the late score that took the Scots through to a 17-12 win against France.
He followed up with a try against the Arabian Gulf in a 27-5 win that took Scotland into the Cup quarter-finals, and he improved on that tournament tally by scoring four in George, where Scotland reached their seventh successive IRB Cup quarter-final. Under-18 international honours in 2005-2006 were followed up when he played in all five of Scotland’s matches in the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Belfast in April 2007.
His international honours continued when he played in all five of Scotland’s matches in the 2008 under-20 Six Nations Championship: he was at outside centre for the games against France and Wales before switching to his preferred position at stand-off in the matches against Ireland, England, and Italy. He also played in four of Scotland’s matches in the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship in Wales, starting as captain and stand-off against Samoa, USA, and Canada and scoring two tries (against Samoa and Ireland). Ruaridh represented Caledonia under-16 and North under-18 before being selected for the Scotland under-18 squad in season 2005-2006.
Playing for Robert Gordon’s College, he kicked four conversions against Selkirk High School in the Royal Navy Schools Sevens final in 2006. In winning the competition with a 28-19 victory in that final, Robert Gordon’s qualified to represent Scotland in the Four Nations’ Rugby Sevens in Portsmouth. Later in the year he made his first appearance in Glasgow Warriors’ squad, selected on the bench for the European Challenge Cup match against Saracens at Watford, though he did not get on to the field.
Ruaridh also played a major part in helping Gordon’s 1st XV to reach the final of the Bell Lawrie White Scottish Schools Cup in January 2006. After school rugby he joined the Cartha Queen’s Park club in Glasgow, and in 2007 he switched to Glasgow Hawks. Rugby runs in his family: his father, Greg, played for Melrose, as did two uncles, Norman and Trevor.
Ruaridh, a graduate of Scottish Rugby’s National Academy, has played for Scotland also at cricket as a member of the national under-17 team.