Tom English

BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

Analysis and opinion from BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

About Tom

Tom is BBC Scotland's chief sports writer. He is a... Read more about Tom English six-time winner of the Scottish feature writer of the year award and has twice won Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards. His columns and radio documentaries have been short-listed for media prizes in Scotland and the UK.

He has been a sports journalist for 25 years, the highlight being an afternoon spent with former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. He joined BBC Scotland in 2014 and writes and broadcasts on many different sports.

Stuart Hogg

'Support for Townsend is draining'

Read full article on Rugby World Cup: 'Support for Gregor Townsend draining after Scotland exit'

When you're reporting on the Scottish rugby team bitter years of experience make you something of a gnarled pro in the post-mortem game. So much hope, so many kicks to places where the sun doesn't shine.

Monday morning dawned in Yokohama. Transport trucks headed for the Scotland team hotel to gather up their tonnage of equipment while arrangements were made for the players to fly home, not all together, but in various job lots over the coming hours and days. Misery reigned.

Scotland stars Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell

Can Scotland spoil the party for sparkling Japan?

Read full article on Rugby World Cup 2019: Can Scotland spoil the party for sparkling Japan?

On Monday morning we woke to the news of a typhoon heading across the Western Pacific Ocean bound for Japan. The national meteorological agency called it Typhoon Hagibis and in our innocence and because it was thought it might damage Ireland's prospects of making the World Cup quarter-finals and increase Scotland's chances, it was nicknamed Hurricane Haggis.

Many Scots were laughing then. Nobody was laughing on Saturday as this thing started to growl its way towards Yokohama, the venue for Scotland's monumental clash with Japan to decide who goes through and who goes out.

World Rugby press conference

Typhoon Hagibis met with 'intransigence'

Read full article on Rugby World Cup: Typhoon Hagibis met with 'woeful intransigence' in Japan

Scotland exited the World Cup four years ago in large part because of a refereeing blunder. The country is now in danger of being dumped from this World Cup on the back of a typhoon and a technicality. The typhoon is unavoidable, the technicality is not. Here in Hamamatsu, there is concern and anger within the Scottish ranks over the way this story is developing.

Typhoon Hagibis is coming and if the meteorologists are correct then it's going to be severe, more damaging than previous incarnations that caused considerable destruction. It's not a typhoon, it's a super typhoon. The advice to all in Yokohama, where Scotland are supposed to be playing Japan on Sunday in a game of games, is stay indoors and batten down the hatches. This is going to be a rough ride.

Scotland's George Horne

Scotland creating storm of their own

Read full article on Scotland creating storm of their own after whirlwind performance against Russia

In the wake of Scotland's thumping victory over Russia, the media room at the Shizuoka Stadium morphed into a convention for hapless meteorologists, a place where Typhoon Hagibis got a whole lot more air-time than Hurricane Horne.

The storm raging across the western North Pacific drew more chat than the scrum-half's hat-trick. When people spoke of intensity and things moving with astonishing speed they weren't talking about Scotland's forward pack or Darcy Graham's excellence, they were on about the gathering menace that is Hagibis and the impact it may have on the great showdown between Scotland and Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.

John Barclay captains Scotland against Russia

Scotland at crossroads on quest for quarter-finals

Read full article on Scotland at crossroads on quest for Rugby World Cup quarter-finals

At the heart of Ogasayama Nature Park in Shizuoka Prefecture lies the Ecopa Stadium, a place put on the sporting map when Ronaldinho lobbed David Seaman from halfway down the road to Kakegawa City to put England out of the 2002 football World Cup.

The venue had to wait 17 years for another moment of magnitude - and when it came, the earth fairly shook.

Scotland players

Well-earned relief for Scotland after win over Samoa

Read full article on Scotland: Well-earned relief after win over Samoa at World Cup

In the oppressive humidity of Kobe's Misaki Stadium on Monday, Scotland may have struggled to catch their breath but they did at least hold their nerve on a potentially suffocating night for their World Cup aspirations.

That gasping you saw at the end wasn't so much players looking for air as Scots panting in relief that a good night's work had the ultimate reward of a fourth try and the extra point that came with it - an absolute necessity if they were to hold out hope of making it through to a quarter-final showdown with Japan in Yokohama in little under a fortnight.

Finn Russell

'It's not that Scotland lost - it's that they didn't turn up'

Read full article on Ireland 27-3 Scotland: Talk is cheap for Gregor Townsend's side

After Scotland completed their call-to-arms press conference on Saturday at Takanawa in Tokyo, it emerged that 100 days had passed since they first met up as a squad to prepare for the World Cup.

One hundred days of training sessions and meetings, of travel and games, of previews and reviews and planning for the opener against Ireland in Yokohama.

Greig Laidlaw celebrates Scotland's win over Ireland in 2017

'Scots must be near-perfect in furious Irish Test'

Read full article on Scotland: 'Gregor Townsend needs near-perfect repeat of 2017 to sink Ireland'

Scotland have taken a circuitous route to Yokohama, the venue for Sunday's World Cup pulse-quickener against Ireland, via training camps and games in Inverness and St Andrews, Largs and Portugal, Nice and Tbilisi, and another spell spent acclimatising in Nagasaki.

Days and weeks have passed in a blur. In their bubble, for the longest time, nothing else has mattered bar this game against the Irish. It's not that they're fed up with the preamble, says Tommy Seymour. It's just that they want to get going now. They're ready to play, they're "itching to get out there", says the wing.

Rangers and Celtic go head to head at Ibrox on Sunday

'Derby offers first clues in title tussle'

Read full article on Rangers v Celtic: Ibrox derby offers first clues in title tussle

It's hard to recall when exactly Celtic fans started singing about their march to 10-in-a-row, but it seems like they've been at it for years, certainly before Brendan Rodgers' time and perhaps even before Ronny Deila's time, too.

There's been a presumption among vast parts of the support that the 10 is inevitable and unstoppable, that there's nothing that Rangers can do to halt it. The crack they've had with that. It's been relentless. In anticipating history being made, Celtic fans have been like folk waiting for the bells at New Year. You know the bells are coming and you know the party is really going to start when they do.

Gregor Townsend

'Townsend faces World Cup waiting game'

Read full article on Scotland: Injury & away day blues give Gregor Townsend a Georgia conundrum

Scotland were always going to throw the kitchen sink at France on Saturday, but given the nature of their loss in Nice the week before, the need for attrition and victory was all the more pronounced.

That desperation saw them claw their way back from the brink of another wounding loss, a recovery that will restore some misplaced belief. Going full pelt this close to a World Cup always has its risks, though. On numerous fronts, Scotland are in a waiting game now.