We Need To Talk About: Reasons to be cheerful

As that oft-quoted cultural icon of our times, Mark Renton, would have it – “It’s shite being Scottish”.¬†It’s a feeling the nation’s rugby fans have often related to through the painful birth, childhood and adolescence of the sport’s professional era. It’s been particularly relevant over the last few months, with Scots being peripheral to the Lions tour of New Zealand and a non-factor in the Test series.

In a little over 2 years though, since May 2015, encouraging signs have been arriving more frequently than just the odd snatch and grab win against a higher ranked nation. Here then are On Top Of The Moon’s top reasons to be cheerful about the state of Scottish rugby:

Glasgow Warriors

2015 – Pro 12 Champions
2017 – Champions Cup quarter finalists (for the first time in the club’s history)

Edinburgh

2015 – Challenge Cup finalists

Scotland women 7s

2017 – Rugby Europe Trophy winners in Ostrava (conceding only 1 try in the process)

Scotland men 7s

2016 – London 7s champions
2016 – Olympic silver medals for Mark Bennett and Mark Robertson
2017 – Paris 7s finalists
2017 – London 7s champions

Scotland men u20s

2015 and 2016 – Highest ever finish of 8th in the World Rugby u20s Championship
2017 – Surpassed by the latest generation who came in 5th

Scottish Rugby Academy

20 players who’ve been involved in the Academy have signed full-time professional contracts since the first intake was announced in 2015

Referees

Mike Adamson one step away from Test match appointments
Hollie Davidson, Scotland’s first ever contracted female referee

Scotland women

2017 – First win in the Six Nations for 7 years
2017 – First time winning 2 games in the Six Nations for 11 years
2017 РJade Konkel joining Lille, runners up in the French Top 8 last season

Scotland men

2015 – World Cup quarter finalists (a fingertip away from a semi-final).
2016 – First win over France for 10 years
2017 – First win over Wales for 10 years
2017 – First time ever winning 3 home games in the Six Nations
2017 – Highest ever world ranking of 5th
2017 – Made ‘Stern’ Vern Cotter cry
2017 – First non-monsoon assisted win away over one of the Southern Hemisphere big 3 for 35 years


It’s important that these are just the green shoots of recovery, the foundations upon which Scottish rugby’s future is built. In many ways it’s the higher standards being set at age grade rugby and in the Academy system that are most encouraging. Hopefully the players coming through keep driving the game in Scotland forward.

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