'Mrs Thatcher won Grand Slam for Scotland'

Share this article

FORMER England rugby hooker Brian Moore has belittled Scotland's 1990 Grand Slam victory, claiming anti-English bigotry and hatred of the poll tax were behind the historic success.

• David Sole leads the Scotland team off the pitch at Murrayfield after their 13-7 Calcutta Cup win over England in the Five Nations rugby tournament, March 1990.

Long regarded as a hate figure among Scottish rugby supporters, Moore has voiced his inflammatory views his new autobiography Beware the Dog.

The former England and British Lions hooker believes the Scottish victory in the Five Nations decider was fuelled not by superior skills and tactics, but by hatred over the imposition of the poll tax by Margaret Thatcher's government, as well as anti-English fervour.

Moore, 48, said the nationalistic fervour got to his fellow players and contributed to the Scots winning 13-7. He wrote: "Scotland's tactics were simple. They would use their home crowd to pressure us throughout the game.

"Allied to these tactics, the easily generated anti-English fervour was reinforced by genuine political antipathy felt by the country towards the Thatcher government, particularly as it had been trialling its new system of local rates, known as the poll tax, north of the border."

Moore told of his torment at having to mix with gloating Scotland fans at a rugby function in Edinburgh the week after the game. "For every second of the experience, and I exaggerate not, at the back of my mind was repeated the phrase, 'I would rather die than allow the Scottish to do this to me again'," he said.

He takes several other swipes at Scotland in the book, saying he has just two Scottish friends, and claiming the Scots were obsessed with labelling the English arrogant. He also expresses dislike for the English anthem Swing Low Sweet Chariot, but still prefers it to Flower of Scotland. Roy Comfort, chairman of the Forum of Scottish Rugby Supporters, said: "It is just Brian being a bit of a sore loser. England came with one of their best teams for years, expecting victory."

Jim Telfer, forwards coach, rejected the Thatcher theory, saying: "There was enough edge without any politics. They were going for a Grand Slam and we were going for a Grand Slam. They must have known that with people like Finlay Calder and David Sole that we were not going to just lie down."

He added: "I think Brian likes reaction. He likes to give this view as a pitbull terrier. He speaks his mind but he is quite arrogant."

Back to the top of the page