Scotland come into the Rugby World Cup with a challenging pool selection. Their opening match against South Africa in Nice will be a robust, physical match thanks to the Springboks. Followed by pool matches against Tonga and Romania (neither of which can be discounted due to sheer tenacity and solid play) and then facing the World Number One ranked team, Ireland in their final Pool Match.

But Head Coach Gregor Townsend has been quietly building this Scottish team over the last few seasons, and despite some depressing stats (being beaten by Ireland in last eight matches), they will quite rightly take heart at two key result this year. Beating England in the Calcutta Cup was a real high point (rivalry between Scotland England in the Six Nations – surely not?!) – but possible more so was the exciting match and 25—21 win against France in August ’23. 

Watching Scotland of late has been accompanied by a feeling of nervous hopefulness – the team are playing with cohesion and ability to exploit opponents’ errors. They will need it vs the Springboks in that opening match but if create ways into the Springboks ’22 and they may surprise. 

Scotland can also take heart also from some of the backroom stats. South Africa missed 39 tackles against the All Blacks their last match (which OK the boys in gold & green won!) but if Scotland can focus and grab even a fraction of those chances, get the ball out to Finn Rusell and Ben White, there may be a glimmer of light at the try-line! 

Let’s hope Flower of Scotland does bloom once more.

Captain: Jamie Ritchie

Players to Watch:  As a Bath Rugby Supporter, it must be our new signing, Finn Russell. Sheer explosive talent – at his best, unstoppable. 

For more information on Scottish Rugby – www.scottishrugby.orgFor full details follow:

What to Eat & Drink whilst watching Scotland

Food: Scotland has an amazing natural larder – glorious beef & venison as well as delicious Sea food. It is sad that for too many years, that this bounty was not transferred to local cooking but wending its way down to London & European markets. But glorious though the Langoustines from the cold waters of the West Coast of Scotland are, it is for Rugby Food that we need to think.

But there is one foodstuff that says Scotland more than any other – Haggis. Now PLEASE don’t skip this paragraph, because you will be amazed once you have discovered the right producer. Family Run Macsween Haggis have won multiple awards – and there are all different types – there is even a vegetarian version – truly delicious! The clue is not thinking of it as a slab of haggis (as all too often experienced at a dodgy Burns Supper in the South of England) – but break it up and get inventive. I’ve stuffed Indian Pakoras, made Scotch eggs coated in Haggis – and all with rave reviews. Think where you can use mince or sausage meat – haggis can take its place with pride. So, pay the lovely people a visit at – they have even given you lots of recipes to inspire you – I think Wee Beasties of the Glen would be perfect Match Day food.

Scotland is famous for its Smoked Salmon, one of the easiest of match day nibbles to prepare! It’s worth seeking out a small producer such as East Neuk Kilnhouse. Family owned and smoked in the traditional way, continually winning awards for their flavoursome range (a world away from more commercial offerings). Check out their hot smoked trout & kippers as well as the salmon!

Another staple of all sporting events north of the border is a Scotch Pie. Made from friable pastry (hopefully) and stuffed with mutton (traditionally) these are not for the faint hearted but good filling affairs!

Scotland produces an excellent range of cheeses, so why not a cheese board to pair with your beer or whisky during the match. For a one stop shop, (online UK delivery or their shop in Edinburgh) , do visit the excellent Cheesemonger I J Mellis. As well as a great Scottish selection – see below – you could also choose cheese for other matches from their listings of English, French and Italian cheese as well) –

Anster – An unpasteurised cows milk cheese from Fife, made by Jane Stewart. Fresh, slightly citrus notes and delightfully crumbly. (Apparently the cows sleep in traditional Scottish style on oat husks, from the nearby Quaker oats factory!)

Auld Reekie – Named after the nickname for Edinburgh, this unpasteurised cows milk come from the Cairngorms and is smoked over old whisky barrels.

Caboc – Rich, indulgent double cream cheese, said to be Scotland’s oldest cheese. The texture is similar to mascarpone but is rolled into small log shapes and covered in oatmeal.

Connage Gouda – Made in Ardersier in Scotland, from cows grazed on clover rich pasture. A semi hard cheese, which starts off sweet and mild when young, changing into nutty notes as it ages. 

Hebridean Blue. Made on the Isle of Mull by the Reade family, this is an intense blue cheese, full on flavour and salty notes. A one for real blue cheese lovers (I also like it mashed with butter to tone its pungency and eat with oatcakes & celery) 

Wee Comrie – A small individual cheese, made in Perthshire sweet in flavour and creamy buttery in taste. Very moreish. 

For more information about other great Scottish Foods such as Stornoway Black Pudding


Beer: There is no shortage of interesting and Craft Beers being made in Scotland. Look out for the superbly named Bitter & Twisted from – 

Or for individual beers aged in Oak, try or their sister brewery Inveralmond

Worth searching out from  is Fraoch and Alba both aged in Whisky casks. not to mention their Seaweed ale in their pack of Historic Ales of Scotland. 

Making beer from organic malt in the Highlands is or the IPA Not the Foggiest  made from Mosaic, Amarillo and Citra  hops, from

If anywhere near Edinburgh (or for online orders) check out the good selection of beers available at – with very helpful staff!

Wine:  Not renowned for grape production, the few vineyards that exist, is more a case of planting vines and waiting to get some benefit from climate change some years ahead. However, there is a research vineyard looking to the future in Aberdeenshire –

But looking to for a Scottish slant on your match day wine? Seek out wines made El Escoces Volante – otherwise known in English as The Flying Scotsman, Norrel Robertson MW ( He makes wine across several regions in Spain, including some in Calatayud and high-altitude vines in Aragon. Several wines including his Garnacha, are available through

National Drink: Usige Beatha – Water of Life – otherwise known as Whisky. 

There is a wide spectrum of flavours in Single Malts, and it all comes down to what style of Whisky you prefer.  Personally I adore the smoky, peatiness of Lagavulin from the south of Islay but if you’d prefer something slightly tinged with smoke but lighter in style, then look for Bunnahabhain on the northern side of the island.

For something much lighter with a touch of sweetness then do look towards Speyside, although it is hard to generalise as this is where most distilleries are based with such as classic names such as Glenfiddich and Glenlivet (which was the first licenced distillery in 1824). But within Speyside, you can also find the richer more intense styles such as Macallan.  Within all of this are the special malts, sometimes aged in old Sherry or Madeira casks adding sweetness to the final Whisky.

As for the on-going discussion – water or not – there is no “right” answer but depends again on your own taste buds. I like a splash (literally about a teaspoon) of spring water (must be Highland Spring!)  to release the aromas of the malt.  But for me never with ice, it freezes and masks the flavours.

A fine range of Single Malts are widely available in the UK – But for something a little different do have a look at the websites below who list an intriguing array of special malts.