Alasdair Granville Dickinson marked a half century of appearances for Scotland with a replacement outing in the Rugby World Cup 2015 match against South Africa.
The 2015 tournament was his third, having made his debut in the 2007 competition, and earning reselection four years later. Dickinson’s debut came against New Zealand at BT Murrayfield less than two weeks after he had been called into the squad, following Allan Jacobsen’s leg injury against Portugal in his country’s opening match of that tournament. His second cap followed when he made his Six Nations Championship debut as a replacement in Scotland’s 15-9 victory against England in the Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield in March 2008. It was nearly a year later before he made his first start in a Six Nations match – against France in Paris after eight replacement appearances. He played in all five matches in that championship, starting in three.
Dickinson’s first try for Scotland came in the Summer Test win against Italy before his second Rugby World Cup experience (2011 in New Zealand), during which he made three substitute appearances. He featured in Scotland A’s memorable away win over England Saxons (the first for the side south of the Border) and scored his second try for Scotland in the opening international of the 2013/14 season – the 42-17 triumph over Japan at BT Murrayfield. It was up to this point that Dickinson had, largely, been battling for the right to consistently start for Scotland – starting 11 of his 34 caps – before the 2014 summer tour signalled a progression in form and selection for the technically-astute and mobile loosehead. Since then he has represented Scotland 18 times, starting 14, playing a vital role alongside club and country front-row colleagues, hooker Ross Ford and tight-head prop WP Nel.
Alasdair is a former pupil of Dundee High School and represented Scotland at all age-grade levels, including three world championships – under-19 in 2002, and under-21 in 2003 and 2004. He has also played for Caledonia at under-18 and under-19. He joined Edinburgh Rugby as an apprentice in 2004 while turning out for Heriot’s, played in all three of Scotland A’s matches in the 2006 Barclays Churchill Cup in Canada, scoring a try in the final against New Zealand Maori. He continued in that team for the game against Australia A at McDiarmid Park, Perth, in November 2006 and had three more games for Scotland A in the 2007 Churchill Cup in England.
Following that tournament he was among five uncapped players in Scotland’s Rugby World Cup preparation squad, though he was not included among the final 30 players who travelled to France for the start of the tournament. He scored two more tries for Scotland A in February 2008, one each in the wins against Italy A (37-15 at Mogliano) and Ireland A (67-7 at McDiarmid Park, Perth). His performances in those matches earned him his Six Nations debut the following month, with replacement appearances against England and Italy.