Raeburn Place in Edinburgh
Raeburn Place in Edinburgh

The Great Game rugby documentary is underway

A new documentary marking the 150th anniversary of the first ever game of international rugby is being produced.

It saw Scotland beat England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on 27 March 1871 and now filming has begun on The Great Game, an hour-long documentary that relives the events of 1871 and explains how that game between Scotland and England changed the face of sport forever.

This film will be a centrepiece of the Museum of International Rugby, which is the second phase in the ambitious redevelopment of Raeburn Place which has already seen over £10 million raised and spent.

During the making of The Great Game, film director Magnus Wake and rugby journalist/author Richard Bath – who is also the editor of Scottish Field – are interviewing some of the biggest names in rugby for a documentary which explores the social, political and sporting background to one of the most seismic days in sporting history.

This hour-long documentary aims to generate interest in the story of the 1871 international, and in Raeburn Place’s part in this remarkable story. With expert opinion and rugby personalities, dramatic reconstructions and incredible newly found archive material, it will tell the very human story behind the game that marks the genesis of international rugby.

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.

The documentary has been financed by individual donors, donations from the GPS Macpherson Charitable Trust and the Gordon Brown Memorial Fund, and corporate sponsors Famous Grouse and Brewin Dolphin.

However, as a charity the RPF have also been keen to allow all rugby fans to support this project so have launched a crowdfunding campaign where fans can have their name added to the credits for as little as £50. To support the crowdfunder, click HERE.

The Raeburn Place Foundation is also launching an appeal for anyone with rugby memorabilia such as photos, diaries, jerseys and caps to come forward. Several important items have already come to light which will appear in the Museum of International Rugby and feature in The Great Game documentary.

Raeburn Place in Edinburgh

Alastair Graham of the Raeburn Place Foundation said: ‘The 150th anniversary of the first ever rugby international underlines just how important Raeburn Place is in the history not just of international rugby, but of sport.

‘Raeburn Place is one of sport’s hidden cultural and sporting shrines, and many people don’t yet appreciate its significance. The redevelopment of the ground will not only put it back at the centre of the community, promoting sport and heritage, but will also consolidate its unique status as the birthplace of international rugby.

‘The commissioning of The Great Game documentary is a tangible sign of Raeburn Place’s renaissance, and marks the start of the next stage of our project – the Museum of International Rugby, at the ground where it all began.’

The Raeburn Place Foundation (RPF) is the charitable body which oversees the running of Raeburn Place. It has a 99-year lease on the ground from the Edinburgh Academical Club, the owners of the freehold title, and has been responsible for the development of the ground. The RPF commissioned the Great Game documentary as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations and as part of the Museum of International Rugby, the final phase of the ground’s redevelopment.