18 more retrospective male Scotland caps to be awarded

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

Donald McLeod - third Scot from the left and supporting ball-carrier Alex Brewster - will gain a retrospective cap for his appearance in this match for Scotland against the Netherlands.
Donald McLeod - third Scot from the left and supporting ball-carrier Alex Brewster - will gain a retrospective cap for his appearance in this match for Scotland against the Netherlands.

SCOTTISH RUGBY is to award an additional 18 retrospective caps to male players who wore the thistle in international games which were not considered full-blown Test matches at the time. This is in addition to the 56 retrospective caps awarded to male players earlier this year.

“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,” said SRU President, Colin Rigby. “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.”


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The bulk of the new additions, featured in Scotland XV games against the Netherlands, played in 1974, 1975 and 1978. However, 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 so erroneously attributed his brother Jimmy, who had played in Scotland victories at Inverleith and Wembley the previous year.

“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,” added Rigby. “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 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) on 27 February 1943
  • 1199 – Richie Dixon v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1200 – Alan Friell v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1201 – Bob Haldane v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1202 – Jack Shirley v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1203 – George Telfer v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1204 – George Turnbull v Netherlands on 30 March 1974
  • 1205 – George Watson v Netherlands  on 30 March 1974
  • 1206 – Wat Davies v Netherlands on 19 October 1975
  • 1207 – Colin Galbraith v Netherlands on 19 October 1975
  • 1208 – Hugh McHardy v Netherlands on 19 October 1975
  • 1209 – Ken Trotter v Netherlands on 19 October 1975
  • 1210 – Bruce White v Netherlands on 19 October 1975
  • 1211 – Andy Dougall v Netherlands on 1 October 1978
  • 1212 – Donald McLeod v Netherlands on 1 October 1978
  • 1213 – John Robertson v Netherlands on 1 October 1978
  • 1214 – Craig Williamson v Netherlands on 1 October 1978
  • 1215 – Ken Macaulay v France Select on 26 April 1980

Johnny Matthews, 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.

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.


56 Scotland Men players to be awarded retrospective caps

About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

6 Comments

  1. And if I’m not mistaken Wat Davies elected to play for Hawick the w/e before his 5 Nations debut – against the norm of resting to ensure being fit to debut…he got injured, (rugby career ending??)in the Hawick match & thus never got his cap & wasn’t picked again – by all accounts a travesty so well deserved in many’s book. If I’m wrong I’m sure a Terrie will correct me…😊

    • Just a shame the late Big Hammy didn’t play in one of these games as another injustice would have been rectified..

  2. Delighted to see the additional awards especially, as a Boroughmuir member, those caps for George Watson and Colin Galbraith. Considering all that he has done for Scottish Rugby over the years, isn’t it wonderful to see Richie Dixon at last recognised.

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    • You will certainly deserve your cap when you get it Jim. I look forward to that day.

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