Scotland made sure of their place at Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, with a 59-3 defeat of Colombia in the Final Qualification Tournament decider in Dubai. The 12th and last team to book their ticket to New Zealand, Bryan Easson’s side will end a 12-year wait when RWC 2021 kicks off in October.
As the celebrations continue in Scotland, we take a look at their Rugby World Cup story.
RWC debut: 13 April, 1994 v Russia at Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh
RWC appearances: Played 24 – Won 11, Lost 13 – Points for 321, Points against 447 – Win ratio 46 per cent
Best finish: Fifth, 1994
Qualification for RWC 2021: Final Qualification Tournament winner
Most memorable match: Playing in front of their own fans on their Rugby World Cup debut, having agreed to host the tournament at short notice, Scotland put in what remains their best performance. Victory against Canada in the fifth-place play-off at Meggetland Stadium capped an encouraging first tournament. Scotland trailed 5-3 with a little over 10 minutes left, having been forced to defend for much of the match. However, a second Elaine Black penalty and Jennifer Sheerin’s late try gave the hosts an 11-5 win that remains their only triumph against Canada.
Iconic moment: Scottish victories against France do not come around all too often, but in 1998 they beat Les Bleues twice. The first of those helped Scotland to a first Women’s Five Nations Grand Slam. The second came at RWC 1998 in Amsterdam, where tries from Janyne Afseth, Donna Kennedy, Kim Littlejohn and Ali MacKenzie secured a 27-7 win.
Low point: Having appeared at every women’s Rugby World Cup between 1994 and 2010, Scotland missed out on qualification for RWC 2014 to Samoa by a single point. Three years later, Spain beat them in a two-legged play-off for a place at RWC 2017 in Ireland.
Iconic player: Kim Littlejohn captained Scotland in their first two Rugby World Cups, leading the team to a fifth-place finish on debut at RWC 1994 and then sixth four years later in Amsterdam. Described as “one of the trail-blazers of women’s rugby” in her homeland as she was inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame last year, Littlejohn made nine Rugby World Cup appearances, scoring one try.
Did you know? Only one woman has made more Rugby World Cup appearances than former Scotland forward Donna Kennedy. Having made her tournament debut against Russia at RWC 1994, Kennedy played in 22 Rugby World Cup matches. That’s the same as World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Anna Richards and Kazakh Svetlana Karatygina. Former Canada international Gill Florence made 23 Rugby World Cup appearances between 1994 and 2010.
Quote: “It’s the ultimate in 15s, you don’t get any bigger stage than the Rugby World Cup. Now it’s all televised, there will be big crowds, especially in New Zealand, which is a phenomenal place to play rugby.” – Paula Chalmers, former Scotland captain.