Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the passing of former Scotland wing David Rose, who died yesterday (Sunday). He was 89.
Born in Jedburgh on 20 February 1931, David McMurray Rose, known to all and sundry as Davie, grew up with rugby the staple diet for youngsters and started his journey, as so many from the town do, at Jed Thistle before moving onto play at Riverside Park with Jed Forest.
Two years’ national service followed in the RAF although, by his own admission, Davie sidestepped the rigours of that particular conscription by virtue of being an accomplished trombone player, and as such was placed in the Service’s brass band!
A call-up to the Scotland squad followed in January 1951 and although Scotland lost the match 12-14, he marked his debut with two tries.
The Glasgow Herald match report said: “Glorious bursts by Rose after brilliant running and passing, in which Elliot, Turnbull and Coutts were prominent, produced two unconverted tries.
“Rose in scoring them got a great reception and well deserved them. Not a moment did he hesitate and not an inch did he deviate from his course. Putting his head back, he went all out for the line and not a Frenchman could lay a hand on him.”
At the time, the match achieved record gate receipts for a game in France of £10,052. Different times indeed!
Rose’s first international appearance at Murrayfield, v Wales, was next up, as Scotland won 19-0. It was his only victory on Scotland duty.
Later in 1951, he also faced Ireland, England and South Africa. He returned to the Scotland team in 1953 and scored his third international try once again v France at Colombes. His last cap was v Wales at Murrayfield in 1953.
He then decided on a different rugby career path.
An offer to go to Huddersfield to play rugby league professionally came in 1953 and, at that time, the acceptance was frowned upon by the Jethart community.
In an earlier interview Rose said: “It was a challenge because there were some tremendous players down south and there was a financial gain out of it. You were virtually selling your amateur status, because there was no way back. Nowadays, players move from union to league and back without any recriminations as such.
“I played a season and a half at Huddersfield and then moved to Leeds as they were looking for a wing man. It was when I was there that they decided to play the inaugural rugby league World Cup in France. I was picked to go there in an 18-man squad, with myself and Dave Valentine [of Hawick] selected as the two Scots.”
“Some 60 years ago, at the World Cup, there were four games for the Great Britain team in France; against Australia in Lyon, New Zealand in Bordeaux and then France in Toulouse- a draw against the hosts led to a tournament stalemate and the decision was made to play-off in a final in Paris.
He went on: “The powers that be made us go there and play a one-off game at the Parc des Princes, which was used up until fairly recently, as you know.
“I think there was a crowd of roughly 35,000 at the game and it was very partisan atmosphere. We went out there as no-hopers and were just an ordinary set of chaps, who had come together for one competition after only two training sessions as a group.
“I remember in the first session we didn’t even have a ball to use and so Dave Valentine tied together two jumpers in a big knot and we just used that, which was obviously a lack of forethought on somebody’s part but it worked just fine.
“We ended up beating France 16-12 in the final, and they were a good side. The forwards played well enough to give us backs enough of the ball to do the necessary. The celebrations were good, aye. I remember only a little bit about that though! Every one of us had given our best, otherwise we wouldn’t have won it.”
His rugby career subsequently came to a premature end due to a badly broken leg.
Having married Doreen after his retirement from playing, Davie worked in textiles until the industry could no longer provide the sort of security it once had. He moved back to Jed in 1974 with Doreen, son Neil and daughters Aileen and Diane.
Jed-Forest President Paul Cranston said: “Davie was still a keen follower of Jed-Forest who still thought deeply about the game and he will be sorely missed not only at Riverside Park but throughout the rugby world of both codes.”
When people in rugby clubs discuss who is the greatest ever Jed-Forest player, there are some obvious candidates.
Roy Laidlaw, Gary Armstrong and Greig Laidlaw spring to mind to name three. But Davie Rose is undoubtedly in that category and might just sneak it by virtue of that World Cup winner’s medal from the Parc des Princes all those years ago.
Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Davie Rose’s family and many friends.