Scottish Rugby Blog

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 105 – Best Calcutta Cup XV


This week on the podcast Cammy and John are joined by Gary Heatly to debate Scotland’s best combined XV from every Calcutta Cup winning Scotland side since 1990.

If you want to get involved you can choose your own XV from the 1990, 2000, 2006, 2008 & 2018 starting XVs. You can also choose any player from the XV that finished the 2019 Calcutta Cup. Although that game was a draw Scotland retained the trophy. However we are only allowing picks from the XV that finished the game given the result in the first half.

Elsewhere on the podcast we get our hands in the ruck over plans for the end to the Pro 14 and domestic club fixtures as well as former pros peddling mad conspiracy theories on social media.

We broadcast the podcast live and you can watch and join in on the night. You can also choose to watch or listen back afterwards by one of our video or podcast channels:

YouTube –

Apple Podcasts:


Alternatively search for Scottish Rugby Podcast on your favourite podcast app or smart devices such as Amazon Alexa.

Each week we will put out a 40 minute podcast for all listeners covering all the latest news and key analysis of the big matches. If you want an ad free version of the podcast as well as a weekly bonus episode taking a deeper dive into the main talking points you can sign up to our Patreon from £3 per month. This also gets you access to our super secret social media group where you can chat to other fans of the podcast.

22 Responses

  1. Really good episode lads! Proud that you didnt just dance around the Max Evans stuff. Celebrities with no background on a subject promoting nonsense and getting a huge platform for it because of their celebrity status just does my head in these days.

    Also has Jason White not won 3 calcutta cups?

    1. Are we sure no-one hacked his socials? Although both Instagram AND Twitter have been affected…

      1. I see, thanks.

        Now Adam Ashe has retweeted some Katie H*pkins drivel pointing at a larger conspiracy behind covid-19…

      2. Wouldnt surprise me about Ashe tbf. Hes always seemed a bit easily sucked into things going by his twitter over the years.

  2. Really enjoyed this episode! Saw me through a lockdown session on the rowing machine.

    My side would be:


    Sole, Milne, Burnell, Cronin, Calder, Armstrong, Chalmers, G.Hastings.

    I cheated on the strict selection criteria to pick both locks from the options at 4! There is also a bias to the players I seen in my lifetime but pleased to have a bench stacked with the stars of yesteryear!

    Really interesting to see how our quality in the backs dropped off so much in the 00s though the forwards remained really strong.

    1. Great team. No place for Barclay? Timely reminder that Jason White could cover lock

      1. I’m a big fan of Hines and I think him and Murray is an ideal combination of grunt and lineout skill at lock!

        I’m also a big fan of Jason White and he’d be the captain of my side as much as I also like Barclay!

      2. Fair enough :) very strong team all the same!

        It surprised me to discover this, but did you know that Hines and Murray were only our top-choice second-row pair for the 2006 Six Nations?

        Stuart Grimes was the first-choice pick alongside Murray for the first half of the decade. Grimes earned his last cap in 2005; Jim Hamilton broke into the starting line-up in 2007, and supplanted Murray.

        So they only really started together in 2006, which is the year we reclaimed the Calcutta, beat France and came third. (It’s also the only year until 2017 that our first choice hooker wasn’t either Gordon Bulloch or Ross Ford.)

        More intriguingly: when Nathan Hines DID break into the Scotland starting XV, at the 2003 World Cup (he started in the quarter-final), he came in for Murray (who dropped to the bench), not Grimes. So they never really played much together.

        We had a quality back five back then (though obviously we still do now!)

      3. It was, but Hines only ‘retired’ after the 2005 Six Nations, returning for 2006. His only appearance in 2005 was as a replacement against Wales (he had a try disallowed). So Grimes and Murray had been the established first-choice pairing during Hines’s disillusionment, with Scott MacLeod, Craig Hamilton, Al Kellock and Iain Fullarton also featuring.

    2. Probably swap Armstrong & Blair & maybe even include Toonie, as a player that is, in place of Chalmers.

      1. Replacing Russell with Townsend on the 60 minute mark would be some swap!

        I enjoyed the prospect of Townsend at 13 and Russell at 10 with Pete Horne Horne inbetween as discussed on the podcast. Bedlam.

      2. No question, Gary Armstrong is a much better scrum half than anyone who has played since. He had a complete game, could play with a pack going forward and going back, played like an extra flanker but with lightening service and a consistent kicking game. Not only our best Scrum half but a lion , and inducted into the SRU Hall of fame in 2013, probably one of the greatest scots of all time. No contest, if I was to pick a first 15 to go to war with, he would be my first pick all day long.Townsend – no, never rated him as a cut above, competent enough but too chaotic and unpredictable.

  3. Great podcast

    My side would be:

    E. Murray
    S. Murray
    G. Hastings

    Sole, Milne, Burnell, Cronin, Calder, Blair, Townsend, Paterson

  4. Much as I would like to agree on Sole at Loosehead , for many reasons, the biggest one being I am ageist and every other ‘ist’ with a negative connatation , but if you are looking for an all round prop who could deliver in this current game, it has to be Tom Smith.

    I watched him playing for Watsonians in the Melrose 7’s , not many props in xv’s play 7’s, but no one told him that.

    He kicked the ball diagonally from close to his own try line and it bounced into touch in their 22. As well as any Half back. I cannot recall who won that yeat but Watsonians were there or thereabouts.

    I hope someone else in here can remember that moment? , but it is one I will never forget. It was early in his career, the crowd fell silent and I recall feeling very positive that Sole had been superseeded by an amazing player.

    Smith is the one, he says very little , does his talking on the pitch. Sole was mean , moody and a leader. It was always considered Sole was the underdog when facing England tighthead Jeff Probyn.

  5. G Hastings (1990) (captain)

    Graham (2019)
    Jones (2018)
    Johnson (2019)
    Stanger (1990)

    Russell (2018, 2019)
    Armstrong (1990)

    T Smith (2000)
    Milne (1990)
    Burnell (1990)

    S Murray (2000)
    Cronin (1990)

    Jeffrey (1990)
    Calder (1990)
    Taylor (2006)

    McInally (2018)
    Sole (1990)
    E Murray (2008)
    J White (2000, 2006, 2008)
    Watson (2018, 2019)
    Blair (2006, 2008)
    Townsend (2000)
    S Hogg (2018)

    1. might as well do a second XV

      Paterson; Tukalo, S Hastings, Lineen, Maitland; Chalmers, Laidlaw
      Jacobsen, Ford, Stewart; Hines, Gilchrist; Barclay (C), A Hogg; D White
      (F Brown, Reid, Douglas, J Gray, M Leslie, Nicol, P Horne, G Metcalfe)

  6. Finlay Calder was a Lions captain , not only that but he won the series after losing by a landslide in the opening test. I am surprised there was a debate to be had, rubber stamp it and move on.

    Calder belong to an era where Scotland were respected for their grit and what you lot call ‘dog’ attitude. Not an era of plucky losers. I know many have never known such a time and I am sorry that it was not your time, but it was my time and I what a time to be scottish.

    Our failure to get a lion on the pitch is not about Warrent Gatland’s prejudice, there is simple not one that stands head and shoulders above the competition.

    I still think this current crop of players are good and capable, however they simply do not have the vision of their predecessors as they have never known how it feels to win a Grand Slam or a Triple Crown which is why we need a special coach that can mentally condition them first and foremost to realise how it feels to win to know,you are the best , the best these islands can produce.

    1. “Our failure to get a lion on the pitch is not about Warrent Gatland’s prejudice, there is simple not one that stands head and shoulders above the competition.”

      Maybe, but…how many Lions players in 2017 DID stand head and shoulders above the competition? Who in that team was an undisputed test starter?

      Of course there was competition. Scotland shouldn’t HAVE to only have undisputed first-choice Lions starters in order to simply break the squad. There’s no reason why our players should be judged any different.

      Hamish Watson, Jonny Gray, and Fraser Brown were all up to the standard of consideration. They shouldn’t have had to go up and BEYOND their competitors just to get a look-in. I think Watson not making the squad is pretty horrendous.

      Might Mouse was right when he said Gatland never comes up here and can’t even NAME our players, apart from Stuart Hogg. He only ever really describes Scotland in disrespectful, patronising terms, and I honestly feel like the benefit of the doubt is something that has to be EARNED. Tom English and others are happy to give him deference on the basis of his coaching record, but I don’t believe that it’s naïve or overemotional to be rightly sceptical of his obvious biases.

    2. I agree with Bass Rock. Few seem to grasp the quality of some in that 1990 team. Lions starters and Captains to boot (F Calder in 89 and Big Gav in 93). Should have beaten the ABs in NZ in 90 and semifinalists in RWC in 91 (lost by three points). Only space for a handful outside of that era and Hoggy, great player that he is, isn’t one of them.

  7. 1. Sole (Tom Smith, great player)
    2. McInally
    3. E. Murray
    4. C. Gray
    5. N. Hines
    6. JJ (J White, great player)
    7. F Calder
    8. S Taylor
    9. G. Armstrong (M Blair, great player)
    10. F. Russell
    11. S. Maitland
    12. S. Lineen
    13. S. Hastings
    14. D. Graham
    15. G. Hastings (S. Hogg, great player)

You might also like these:

Questions, what questions? Rory looks back at the win over England and ahead to the final two rounds of the tournament.
Scotland’s training squad for the 2024 Women’s Six Nations is a mostly familiar core with a smattering of new names – including several who have really impressed in the recent Celtic Challenge matches, writes Eleanor.
Stuart got in touch to tell us about the alternative reality that Saturday's game forced him into. So here it is, the Six Nations Table where Scotland won. To be continued...
Give us your thoughts on the game as Scotland welcome England to Murrayfield.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion