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.

Thembelani Bholi (centre) of the Southern Kings during the Super Rugby match against Cheetahs

Pro12 expansion 'needs to succeed'

Read full article on Pro12: Addition of Cheetahs and Kings 'needs to succeed' amid financial pressures

When word came out of South Africa on Tuesday that the new Pro14, including the Kings and the Cheetahs, was a done deal for the coming season the reaction varied depending on which part of the world you happened to be in.

In South Africa, the news was greeted warmly, particularly in Bloemfontein, home of the Cheetahs, and Port Elizabeth, home of the Kings. Having been dumped from next season's Super Rugby competition, the pair of them have been yanked from death's door.

The Cheetahs and the Kings in action in 2016

Pro12's 'radical' plans raise big questions

Read full article on 'Radical' expansion plans for Pro12 raise big questions

It was back in August last year that Mark Dodson, chief executive of Scottish Rugby, and Philip Browne, his counterpart in the Irish Rugby Football Union, truly raised the alarm about the Pro12.

In articulating why the tournament needed a dramatic overhaul, Dodson spoke about "bleak prospects" and "perfect storms" if everything stayed the same. Browne went even further when pointing out a "potentially profound" risk to the professional game in Ireland if the Pro12 didn't get its act together.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend

'Frailties lie within resurgent Scotland'

Read full article on The challenges facing Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend

Scotland exited Suva on Sunday morning amid hugs from the locals and then a police escort which led their bus down the rickety road to Nadi.

A flight to Sydney awaited, then an overnight, then the journey home. Three weeks on tour, six weeks together in total; this has been a long summer already.

Ross Ford

Ford still has plenty left in the tank

Read full article on Ross Ford: Scotland hooker looks back on soon-to-be record breaking career

It was during a discussion about the most capped rugby players of all time that Ross Ford produced one of the most Ross Ford moments of his 109 and soon to be Scottish record-breaking 110-cap career.

In this business of the pantheon, there is, of course, Richie McCaw on 148 New Zealand caps, then Australia's George Gregan on 139, Brian O'Driscoll on 133 and All Black, Keven Mealamu, on 132. Given that his coach, Gregor Townsend, has said that Ford could play on at international level for at least another two years, you start doing the mental arithmetic.

Scotland full-back Greig Tonks

Two down, one to go for Scotland

Read full article on Greig Tonks and Scotland target hat-trick of summer tour wins

Having taken down 23 Wallabies on Saturday, a challenger of an altogether different kind ventured into the Scotland camp in Fiji on Monday afternoon. This creature was a black and white thing that came slithering out of the water of Lami Bay, upon which the happy visitors' hotel is set.

To the innocents abroad, who went up close to take pictures, it was a mere snake. To the locals, it was a banded sea krait, a potentially lethal character that contains 10 times more venom than a cobra.

Scotland started the Gregor Townsend era with victory over Italy

Scots build depth and eye revenge in Australia

Read full article on Scotland build depth and eye revenge in Australia

Five years - and a whole lot of pain - have passed since Scotland last beat the Wallabies, a 9-6 gruntathon in the monsoon of Newcastle in New South Wales.

John Barclay is one of the few men who played then and who's still playing now. Whenever the game is mentioned and he's asked if it feels like half a decade ago, he smiles and says, no, it doesn't, it feels a whole lot longer ago than that.

Gregor Townsend

Returning stars bolster Townsend debut

Read full article on Tom English: Gregor Townsend boosted by returning stars for Scotland bow

As settings go, the roof of the Scotland team hotel in downtown Singapore wasn't the worst place for Gregor Townsend to name his first team as coach of the national side.

Sitting in an urban utopia - a sky garden overlooking Hong Lim Park, surrounded by hanging vines, infinity pools, pavilions shaped like giant birdcages and 15,000 square metres of greenery - Townsend announced his line-up to face Italy at the air-cooled indoor national stadium on Saturday amid an architectural wonder.

Duncan Taylor

Taylor the rock is ready to roll again

Read full article on Scotland: Duncan Taylor puts injuries behind him to return to prominence

This time last year everything was just about perfect in Duncan Taylor's world.

The Saracen had just won his second Premiership title and his first Champions Cup, he had become a key man with Vern Cotter's Scotland and had flown to Japan for the summer tour with the praise not just of his international coach ringing in his ears, but also that of his club coach, Mark McCall.