Scottish Rugby to show 1990 Grand Slam decider

17/3/1990 Five Nations Champ. Scotland v England
Scotland fans will get the chance to re-live one of their greatest ever performances tonight when Scottish Rugby replays the whole of their 1990 Grand Slam victory against England.

Scotland fans will get the chance to re-live one of their greatest ever performances tonight when Scottish Rugby replays the whole of their 1990 Grand Slam victory against England.

You can tune in from 7pm on Scottish Rugby’s Facebook and YouTube pages to watch one of the most famous days in Scotland’s history, a 13-7 win that earned them a third Grand Slam.

That afternoon at a packed BT Murrayfield is one of the defining matches in Championship history as Scotland, led by Sir Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer, seized the title for the first time in six years.

England’s wait for the trophy was longer than Scotland’s, stretching back to 1980, but their team – led by Will Carling – was as strong as any they had ever produced and they backed it up by going on to win the 1991 and 1992 Grand Slam.

Here’s the story of one of rugby’s most famous matches.


England had started the Championship in red-hit form, blasting Ireland aside in a convincing 23-0 win at Twickenham in Round 1 with tries from David Egerton, Jeremy Guscott, Jeff Probyn and Rory Underwood.

Scotland’s first game came a fortnight later against the same opposition but things were far from smooth, a 13-10 win at Lansdowne Road came courtesy of two Derek White tries.

Meanwhile, England’s serene march continued as they dispatched France 26-7 in Paris and Wales 34-6 at Twickenham to leave just Scotland to overcome.

Scotland matched that by seeing off France comfortably too, 21-0 at BT Murrayfield, before a 13-9 win in Cardiff created a dream showdown with the auld enemy.


England headed north as the team to beat. The swagger with which they had seen off Ireland, France and Wales led many to believe they were unstoppable.

In contrast, Scotland’s had been a far grittier road but, with a political backdrop adding further emotion to such a gigantic contest, the match was about more than just rugby.

And Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer tapped into the perfectly.

Speaking to the Guardian this year, wing Iwan Tukalo remembered: “He [Telfer] started this whole thing about not just playing for the jersey but for yourselves, your friends and families, saying: ‘If you win this game, it is life-changing for you.’

“At the end he said: ‘There is a jersey on the front of your chair; pick that jersey up and give it to the person it belongs to and make a commitment to them’.” Tukalo had John Jeffrey’s No.6 jersey. “I just said: ‘JJ, there’s your jersey, I won’t let you down.’ For me, after that, nobody was going to beat us that day.”

Scotland walked out onto the field slowly before kick-off, insisting to arrive with purpose like gladiators. It worked and a destabilised England were rattled from the get-go.

McGeechan’s plan was to test England and force them to reveal a Plan B. Plan A had been working just fine in their previous three games, with their electric backs finding space to run and their brutal forwards smashing opponents out of the way.

But Scotland stood tall. They cut off the space for Guscott and Underwood and hit England with as much power as the visitors hit them.

Two Craig Chalmers penalties put Scotland 6-0 up but Guscott was too good to be kept quiet for long and his try cut that gap to two.

Chalmers added a third penalty to stretch the lead to 9-4 at the break but the moment the game will always be remembered for came early in the second half as Gavin Hastings deftly kicked forward and Tony Stanger powered on to score a try.

Simon Hodgkinson kicked a penalty for England but they could not break through Scotland’s stubborn defence and the hosts held on for what is arguably the most famous win.