The original international

This hour-long documentary film will tell the incredible true story of the world’s first international game of sport – the rugby game between Scotland and England, which was played at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on 27 March 1871.

The Raeburn Place Foundation, the charity that holds the lease over the grounds where this historic match took place, want to create this feature length documentary.

This hugely important piece of sporting history is relatively unknown in Scotland and certainly not widely celebrated internationally. This film aims to change that. With expert opinion and rugby personalities, dramatic reconstructions and incredible newly found archive material, we aim to tell the story of the game that marks the genesis of international team sport. The 1871 match was, in simple terms, the game that started it all.

Once the film is made it will be screened in Scotland and is intended to be distributed internationally through streaming sites. The film will also become a centrepiece of the new Museum of International Rugby to be housed at the ground where it all began,  and the home of the Edinburgh Academicals.

The project has already received substantial private backing and charitable donations including from the GPS Macpherson Charitable Trust and the Gordon Brown Memorial Fund, and has secured corporate sponsorship from Famous Grouse, Brewin Dolphin and replica shirt sponsors Samurai Sports.


Reward 1 - £50
Reward 1 - £50Credit in the film & streaming access!
This reward gets you a credit in the film as a Film Backer. YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS listed as a backer, permanently attaching you to this film and this historic match! You’ll also receive a link to an EARLY SCREENER of the film to watch before the rest of the world!
Reward 1 - £50
Reward 1 - £50Credit in the film & streaming access!
This reward gets you a credit in the film as a Film Backer. YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS listed as a backer, permanently attaching you to this film and this historic match! You’ll also receive a link to an EARLY SCREENER of the film to watch before the rest of the world!
Reward 2 - £100
Reward 2 - £100Reward- Red Carpet Premiere
Everything mentioned in the £50 reward (YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS, EARLY SCREENER) plus you receive a ticket to the BACKERS RED CARPET PREMIERE to be held at Raeburn Place in August (estimated). Please note travel etc. not included.
Find out more
Find out more
Find out more

“Flodden is at last revenged!”

Reaction of James Carmichael, a master at Edinburgh Academy, to the result of the first international rugby game.

Why Crowdfund?

We’ve launched this crowdfunding to complete the remainder of the funding for the film budget. Part of the aim is to get as many people involved in this great historical event as possible and so we want to involve as many rugby players, former players, supporters and fans, and give everyone a chance to be part of this incredible story.

Any extra money raised will be used to further support the documentary and its distribution. Any unused funds will be put towards supporting the development Museum of International Rugby.

The Raeburn Place Foundation

Raeburn Place Foundation is a charity founded to ensure that people, irrespective of background or ability, have the everyday opportunity to come together, play, watch, appreciate and celebrate sport. The Foundation’s charitable objectives are the promotion of sport and the promotion of heritage.

The Creative Team

Richard Bath presenter for the film

Richard Bath (presenter) is an award-winning journalist and editor. The Scottish Rugby Correspondent for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, he previously edited Rugby World and Rugby News, is the European correspondent for New Zealand Rugby World magazine and has written eight books about rugby. Richard’s day job is as Editor of Scottish Field, and he briefly coached mini-rugby at Raeburn Place when his sons played there.

Magnus Wake (director) has been directing film, documentary and commercials for over twenty years.  An award-winning director based in Scotland  he thought of the concept for the documentary film while gazing out the window of his home overlooking the 1871 pitch.


In the same way as Michael Palin discovers the world through his journeys, narrator and interviewer Richard Bath discovers the first international through visits to museums, players and historians. This film witnesses that journey rather than being a straight telling of the first international.


The contributors come from both Scotland and England and reach into the current members of the men’s and women’s teams. Richard personally knows many of the historians and ex-players which builds a natural discussion to create an accurate and also entertaining take on the game as it happened.


To bring the story to life we intend to shoot a number of dramatic recreations showing some of the characters and to dramatise the game itself. We will film on the original pitch using a combination of actors and current day rugby players (timing subject to availability and COVID restrictions).

Other smaller scenes would be created to help build a picture of events that led up to the game.

Our team is very experienced in filming recreations such as burning witches for the ITV series Mysterious Scotland (dir. Magnus Wake) as well as  historical recreations in 19th century London and battle scenes from the time of William Wallace.

Other material


Numerous photographs exist from the period including images of the teams and players. Archive film doesn’t exist of the original game but early footage does show other games which is useful for showing how the game really looked in the 19th century as well as for discussing the laws of the game.

How will people see the film?

Everyone who supports the film via this page will get a special link to an online early screening. Once the film has been completed special screenings will be held in Scotland with the aim being for the film to distributed internationally via online streaming platforms and/or broadcast channels. The film will be available for educational purposes in Schools and ultimately be used at the new Museum of International Rugby being created by the Raeburn Place Foundation in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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