Bruce Hay

Rugby player and coach


Bruce Hamilton Hay, rugby player: born Edinburgh 23 May 1950; married (one daughter); died Edinburgh 1 October 2007.

Scotland's rugby selectors were presented with a difficult problem in the mid-1970s when their gleaming star Andy Irvine found himself under threat from the barnstorming Bruce Hay. Irvine was the darling of the crowd, a player who could conjure something out of nothing with his dancing feet and electric pace. Hay, however, preferred the more direct route to the line, and woe betide anyone who got in his way. Both he and Irvine were as effective as the other in the Scottish side and, having started as rivals, they became inseparable team mates for their country and for the British and Irish Lions.

Where Irvine led, Hay followed. Plucked from the relative obscurity of the junior club Liberton to deputise for Irvine in the Edinburgh side in the Inter Districts Championship tie-breaker against Glasgow in 1972, Hay made a major impact, despite his inexperience. Edinburgh won the title, nobody missed Irvine and a star was born.

Hay next moved to Boroughmuir, and then into the Scottish side in 1975. He made his début on the 1975 tour to New Zealand. The selectors moved Irvine to the wing after 14 appearances at full-back and slotted Hay in at number 15. The Scots won four of their seven matches, and Hay forced his way into contention with his powerful displays. The Test in Auckland was lost 24-0 on a saturated pitch and Hay played much of the game with a broken arm.

That was the launch of a 23-cap career that saw him switch between full-back and wing over a seven-year period. No longer was it a case of which one to pick; both had to be accommodated in the Scottish back division.

Irvine had seen his stock rise by being part of the unbeaten 1974 Lions team in South Africa and he was joined on the 1977 and 1980 tours to New Zealand and South Africa by Hay. All of a sudden there was no senior or junior partner; the two men were on a par.

Hay played in 11 games in the 1977 tour and figured in three of the four Tests three years later. More than that, he won the respect of his team mates. "Bruce was a rock of a man, someone you would want playing behind you every day of the week," said Phil Bennett, the 1977 Lions skipper.

Andy Irvine was a footballing genius, but Bruce was the man he knew he could rely on to do the hard graft. Bruce was Mr Dependable, a delight to tour with and a man who revelled in the honour and privilege of playing for his country and the Lions. He never moaned or complained and always displayed the heart of a lion.

Hay was born in Edinburgh in 1950. He joined Liberton FP after leaving Liberton High School and captained the club at 18. He worked as a mining engineer before becoming a sales representative. He joined Boroughmuir in 1972 and helped them to win the last unofficial Scottish League title in 1973 and the Melrose Sevens crown in 1976. After retiring from playing in 1986, he became the club's coach for eight years and then director of rugby, steering them to the Scottish title again in 1990. Latterly Hay managed the Scotland under-19 squad. "If he'd been playing today he'd have won 50 or 60 caps," Irvine said. "For seven years he was involved in every game, playing or on the bench."

Rob Cole

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders