Legacy Of Aberdonian Rugby Legend Lives On

The family of Aberdonian rugby legend Bert Bruce (1922-2001) donated treasured pieces of his playing memorabilia to Scottish Rugby. As the first ever Gordonian to represent Scotland, Bruce had a distinguished club career which included captaining the Aberdeen side in 1948-49 and 1951-52 before being capped for his country against Australia (1947), Wales, France and Ireland (1948) - playing in three different positions for Scotland in the four games (both sides of the front-row and in the back-row).The family of Aberdonian rugby legend Bert Bruce (1922-2001) donated treasured pieces of his playing memorabilia to Scottish Rugby.

As the first ever Gordonian to represent Scotland, Bruce had a distinguished club career which included captaining the Aberdeen side in 1948-49 and 1951-52 before being capped for his country against Australia (1947), Wales, France and Ireland (1948) - playing in three different positions for Scotland in the four games (both sides of the front-row and in the back-row).

Scottish Rugby was delighted to accept Bert's Scotland cap, his national jersey - of which in those days players were only presented with one - and, significantly, a France jersey which Bruce himself exchanged during the Scotland v France game at Murrayfield.

Bert's daughter, Marilyn Paterson, said: "I found a box of his playing memorabilia in my parents' house and had no hesitation in donating it because it would only remain there for years to come. I am giving it back to the home where it originally came from so that future generations may appreciate rugby history in Scotland.

_x001C_I think people have to realise how the game has changed over the years since dad was capped - the types of restrictions that were on them after the war, the fact that they got one jersey and that was it - I think it's all part of the heritage of any sport.

_x001C_He didn't talk a great deal about his international achievements, he was a very modest man hence the reason why these items were in a box."

In the 1940s, players were only presented with one jersey and therefore those who wished to swap shirts did so in the knowledge that they would have to buy a replacement themselves.

On the day of the French game, Scotland, being the home side in clashing colours, wore their alternative white jersey which meant that Bruce, banking on the fact that he'd be unlikely to require the change jersey for the remainder of his career opted to swap the jersey with French scrum-half Y Bergougnan.

When his playing career came to an end, Bruce continued his service to rugby in various capacities as the founder of Stornoway Rugby Club during his time living in the town in 1952, as the secretary of the North District and selector for many years, and as Gordonians club president from 1974-76.

Marilyn explained: _x001C_After moving to Stornoway in 1952 there was nowhere to play rugby so he got somebody to make posts and they found ground at Goathill farm and decided to start a team before returning to Aberdeen and Gordonians in 1958.

_x001C_Rugby was his life,he also gave a lot of his experience back to the game. He and my mum also enjoyed numerous friendships around the world as they went on tours with the Scottish team to Cananda, New Zealand and to South Africa with Budge Rogers and the England team wearing his kilt to every English game - naturally he would have supported England but it was in jest and good fun. Friendships made through the game have survived to the next generation.

_x001C_Bert was a very fair man, he was very good at speaking to the boys in the rugby club after the game. He always gave advice to the home team and the opposition regardless of the outcome of the game, he was very strong willed and tough but was always willing to offer help.

_x001C_He was very modest as far as his sporting achievements were concerned, but then he was always more concerned about putting a lot back into the game and keeping Gordonians going.

_x001C_The only picture he had up on his desk was a picture of himself, Gavin Hastings, Ian MacRae and Donald MacDonald, and that one he was extremely proud of because he thought that Gavin Hastings was just a superb rugby player - the only other photographs displayed in his house were team ones when he was capped, taken at the back of Murrayfield._x001D_

Bert Bruce died aged 78 in 2001.