Calcutta Cup memories for Past Selkirk players

Selkirk Rugby Club sits by the River Ettrick and over the years the club has produced several World class players for Scotland .

And one of the heroes of Scotland’s 1990 Grand Slam believes Selkirk’s very own, stand-off John Rutherford was the best player he ever saw play.

Finlay Calder won 37 caps for Scotland, captaining the side on seven occasions, before going on to lead the 1989 British and Irish Lions on their victorious tour of Australia.

And speaking at BT Murrayfield to help launch a dinner where the Grand Slam teams of 1990 and 1984 will come together to raise money for Hearts + Balls, the former back-row was quizzed on which of the all-conquering Scotland sides would come out victorious had they ever faced in a match.

And despite the 1990 side containing legends Gavin and Scott Hastings, John Jeffrey and Gary Armstrong, Calder – whose brother Jim played in the 1984 success – sung the praises of Rutherford.

“John Rutherford was the best player I ever saw in my life – for any country – he was magic – and he was in his prime in ‘84,” said the 62-year-old.

“So, while Craig Chalmers (stand-off in the 1990 team) was a fine rugby player, your 10 controls your game, and Rudd was something else.”

His brother Jim agreed and offered his own take on the mercurial stand-off.

“Rutherford was simply the best stand-off in the world,” Jim said.

His brother Jim – who scored the Grand Slam-clinching try against France at Murrayfield – also lauded the 1984 side – but believes the achievements of the 1990 side will receive more adulation because of their winner-takes-all victory over England.

He continued: “We had eight Lions, Peter Dods became a Lion and David Leslie should have been a Lion, but 1990 was a special team – and they beat a special team.

“It sits in the memory that wee bit more when you beat England.”

The pair were joined by fellow 1990 Grand Slam hero and Selkirk past player Iwan Tukalo to launch the dinner, which will take place at Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 8 May.

They were not the only Selkirk players to achieve the Grand Slam with scrum half Gordon Hunter and Iain Paxton, both fantastic servants at Philiphaugh for many years, helping Scotland clinch the title in 1984.

Calcutta Cup Photo by Rob Gray Photographer

Tickets for the dinner are available by clicking here