Scottish Rugby to award additional retrospective caps

Scottish Rugby to award additional retrospective caps

Scottish Rugby is to award an additional 18 retrospective caps to honour players who wore the thistle in international competition.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Rugby Union Custodian Board announced some 57 male players would be capped retrospectively. The players had represented Scotland in the Services and Victory internationals during and after the Second World War and had played for Scotland XVs against  international opposition.

SRU President, Colin Rigby, said: “The response to our retrospective caps’ initiative has been heart-warming and a source of great pride, especially for the players and families who now hold that much-cherished status.

“As we said earlier this year, the rationale behind the retrospective capping was to be inclusive, while, at the same time, protecting the integrity of a Scotland cap, so it was important that we looked at the circumstances around individual games and remained true to our overall philosophy.

“We were contacted on behalf of other distinguished players who played in non-cap matches at that time, asking us to consider certain such matches and we have now concluded our research around those requests.”

Some 18 players from ten different clubs are now to be added to the roll of honour.

One of the players, Donald Maltman of Hawick, played in the pack in two Services Internationals against England in 1943. But in the match programme of the game at Inverleith in February that year, he was incorrectly listed with the initial “J” – and that was his brother Jimmy, who had played in Scotland victories at Inverleith and Wembley the previous year.

Liaising with the Maltman family in Hawick, we have been able to verify that brothers Jimmy and Donald Maltman both played in Services Internationals for Scotland and therefore should both be capped retrospectively.

The bulk of the new additions, featured in Scotland XV games against the Netherlands, played in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

Colin Rigby added: “We know that the Netherlands have never qualified for a Rugby World Cup, though England did award caps when the teams met in a qualifying match in 1998.

“We know, too, that Netherlands are currently listed at 27 in the men’s world rankings, with Zimbabwe – against whom we have awarded retrospective caps given their involvement in Rugby World Cup tournaments – at 31.

“We contacted our counterparts at the Dutch Rugby Union to verify that they awarded caps in games v a Scotland XV in March 1974 at Hughenden; and then in October 1975 and October 1978 both at Hilversum in Holland.

“The Dutch Union has now confirmed that from its perspective these games carried cap status, so we are now pleased to include these fixtures as part of our retrospective initiative.”

The latest retrospective caps therefore are former Scotland head coach Richie Dixon; London Scottish and Anglo Scots centre Alan Friell; West of Scotland trio, wing Jack Shirley, back-row forward Bob Haldane and centre Craig Williamson; Gala wing George Telfer; Jed-Forest centre George Turnbull; Boroughmuir lock George Watson; Jordanhill centre Andy Dougall; Selkirk wing Ken Trotter; Kilmarnock pair, scrum-half Hugh McHardy and wing John Robertson; Dunfermline (and latterly Boroughmuir) lock Colin Galbraith; and Hawick trio, wing Bruce White and back-row forwards Wat Davies and Donald McLeod.

The final addition is the Gala lock Ken Macaulay who played for a Scotland XV against a French XV in Bordeaux in April 1980.

The updated cap numbers are as follows:

1198 – Donald Maltman v England (SI)                                27 February 1943

1199 – Richie Dixon v Netherlands                                       30 March 1974

1200 – Alan Friell v Netherlands                                            30 March 1974

1201 – Bob Haldane v Netherlands                                      30 March 1974

1202 – Jack Shirley v Netherlands                                     30 March 1974

1203 – George Telfer v Netherlands                                      30 March 1974

1204 – George Turnbull v Netherlands                                 30 March 1974

1205 – George Watson v Netherlands                                  30 March 1974

1206 – Wat Davies v Netherlands                                         19 October 1975

1207 – Colin Galbraith v Netherlands                                   19 October 1975

1208 – Hugh McHardy v Netherlands                                   19 October 1975

1209 – Ken Trotter v Netherlands                                         19 October 1975

1210 – Bruce White v Netherlands                                       19 October 1975

1211 – Andy Dougall v Netherlands                                      1 October 1978

1212 – Donald McLeod v Netherlands                                 1 October 1978

1213 – John Robertson v Netherlands                                  1 October 1978

1214 – Craig Williamson v Netherlands                               1 October 1978

1215 – Ken Macaulay v France Select                                   26 April 1980


Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors) who became Scotland’s latest cap when he made a try-scoring debut off the bench against Romania last month in the Rugby World Cup is therefore Scotland cap number 1216.

Now that the men’s retrospective cap initiative is complete, planning is underway for capping ceremonies.

Families of players from the Services and Victory Internationals have been invited to a capping ceremony at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium following Scottish Rugby’s annual Armistice Service on Saturday 11 November.

Players retrospectively capped from the 1969-1998 era will be invited to a capping ceremony in February 2024.

Players who represented Scotland Women and Scotland’s referees who took charge of internationals in the men’s and women’s games will also be the subject of a similar research project.

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