Rugby player, 86, has no plans to give up game

Picture: Central Scotland
Picture: Central Scotland
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He may be 86, but Alastair Urquart is not ready to hang up his rugby boots just yet.

Bunnet-wearing Mr Urquhart, of the veteran rugby team Brechin Bruce in Angus, achieved mini celebrity status last season after his heroics on the pitch in a friendly match against Italian side Reggio Emilia.

The team, Alastair very much included, are preparing for a new season.

The Edinburgh man, who started playing the game aged eight on the fields of Penarth, Wales, played a starring role in his side’s match against the Italian team in a game that was set up after a chance meeting at Murrayfield.

The veteran rugby team is gearing up for another bumper year of games and will again be making its mark on the European stage - this time with a trip to France.

Brechin Bruce get back to competitive action on August 16 in Tillycoultry at the Scottish Golden Oldies Festival where 15 teams are expected to compete - with keen player Mr Urquhart ready to lace up his boots and play.

This will be the team’s fourth appearance at the annual event and BBC Alba will be following Mr Urquhart.

He is now an ambassador for Age Concern.

On September 20, Brechin Bruce will hold its annual home festival with teams coming from Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Cupar, Tillycoultry and Stonehaven.


In October, the team will again be making its mark on the European stage after accepting an invitation from Reggio Emilia to assist them in taking on the veterans of Toulouse in France.

Bruce manager Gary Robertson said today: “Toulouse are arguably one of the finest rugby clubs in Europe having won the Heineken Cup four times and it is a great honour for the Brechin team to be invited to such a prestigious club in France which will likely field a team with a few ex-professionals and possibly three or four former French caps in their ranks.

“The match will take place at the 19,500 capacity Stade Toulousain as a warm up to the Top 14 Rugby Union match between Toulouse and Toulon.

“It is an indication of how popular the team is becoming and the way that they play the game in the expected manner of Golden Oldies Rugby, which, whilst very competitive, is also about players continuing in the fun, friendship and fraternity that rugby has to offer.”

Mr Robertson said the Reggio Emilia veterans will also be coming over to Scotland to play Brechin Bruce in a rematch in June 2015.

Mr Urquhart shot to local stardom after putting in a man of the match performance with the Brechin lads when they took on the Italian side for the first time in February.

The Edinburgh man helped set up one of his team’s two tries with a sensational interception and pass, which left the 200-strong crowd at the match ecstatic.

He travelled to the northern Italian city with the Brechin teams veterans’ side after they made a lasting friendship with the Emilia players following a chance meeting at the Scotland versus Italy Six Nations match at Murrayfield in 2013.

The OAPs antics in Italy attracted local newspaper interest and the attention of rugby fans on the internet, who took a shine to the 85-year-old after his on-the-field heroics.

Mr Urquhart wears purple shorts to stop him being fully tackled and hurt -- players are only allowed to slow him down.