Scottish Rugby Pays Tribute To The Fallen
Scotland’s players today paused from their preparations to face New Zealand to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Some 30 Scottish international players lost their lives in the First World War and there were a further 15 fatalities in the Second World War and in other conflicts around the world. Today Scotland head coach Andy Robinson and captain Mike Blair were joined at the war memorial at Murrayfield Stadium to mark armistice by fellow members of the Scotland squad; Scotland kit manager John Pennycuick, who served in the Falklands War with The Royal Scots; Ian McLauchlan, President of the Scottish Rugby Union, his New Zealand counterpart, John Sturgeon and veterans of recent conflicts. Among the soldiers attending the ceremony was a man whose extraordinary gallantry in Afghanistan during the summer has seen him awarded a Military Cross. Captain Alex Phillips is serving with the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, based at Fort George in Inverness. As a platoon commander in Afghanistan he led a bayonet charge through the gates of an enemy compound which forced the insurgents, who had pinned down one of his sections dealing with an improvised explosive device, to flee. He also fearlessly counter-attacked various enemy ambushes in Central Helmand. As his citation for bravery states throughout his demanding seven months tour of duty “Captain Phillips led from the front when the situation was most dangerous and would never let his men accept more danger than himself.” Alex, who is also the captain of the Black Watch, 3 SCOTS rugby team, will be among a number of military personnel at Murrayfield on Saturday as guests of Scottish Rugby. At the match Scottish Rugby will also mark the proximity to Remembrance Day on Sunday with a moment’s silence and support for the Hearts and Heroes Challenge which is being promoted by rugby charity Hearts and Balls and Poppy Scotland.