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Auld Alliance Trophy
Memoire de Rugby

 

Auld Alliance Trophy - Memoire de Rugby

   

Trophy honoured the the war dead from the rugby communities of Scotland and France at the Murrayfield on the occassion of Six Nations game between these two Nations, the match which falls in the centenary year of Armistice.

It specifically commemorates the captains of Scottish and French team of the last match played before the First World War - Eric Milroy and Marcel Burgun, both whom perished in that War . . .

But it is also a tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice . . . 22 French and 30 Scottish internationalists were killed in actions, along with countless other club players from both nations.

The driving force for the creation of the Trophy was Mémoire de Rugby Association, Patrick Caublot, who promoted it together with David Anderson, the great-great nephew of Eric Milroy.

Anderson said: “Eric Milroy and Marcel Burgun, Scotland and France captains in 1914, are named on the trophy.  They represent the never-forgotten sacrifices made by rugby players of both nations and embody the Auld Alliance that was renewed in the Great War.”

Patrick Caublot, President of "Mémoire de Rugby" who led a party from the Amiens region on a visit to Scottish Rugby’s war memorial  said: “The trophy underlines that the spirt of the Auld Alliance will live on.”

Eric Milroy was described as “the most modest and generous of souls. The boyish smile, with which he would emerge from the feet of opposing forwards, was an open sesame to a wide circle of friendship, and never could it be said of him that success had in the least turned his head.  He was ever, sunny, modest and gentle.”

Brought up in Edinburgh, Milroy, a scrum-half, became an advocate of running rugby, with which Watsonians won the unofficial Scottish championship four times before the war.

He toured South Africa with the British Lions in 1910 and was capped 12 times, including against Burgun’s France in 1913.

He was killed at the age of 29 on the Somme in 1916, fighting as a machine-gun officer with the Black Watch.

On the eve of battle, Milroy wrote home to his mother, Walteria, who frequently instructed him to “keep well back” and out of harm’s way on the rugby field. In his final letter Milroy wrote: “We are in for some slight trouble tomorrow.  So, I am just warning you that there is to be no ‘keeping well back’ then.”

Marcel Burgun born in St Petersburg, the son of a French clock-maker who worked for the RussianTsar,  won his first French caps playing for Racing Club in Paris before switching to Castres Olympique.  He went on to win 11 caps from his debut against Ireland in 1909 and four of those caps were gained against Scotland.

He played in France’s first-ever Championship victory – against Scotland in January 1911. Burgun learned that his elder brother was killed in action in the early battles of World War 1.  He became an artillery observer and a pilot but he too died in action, shot down and killed in the summer of 1915. He won the Croix de Guerre and Palm and subsequently had a street in Castres named after him.

This Memorial rugby match is played yearly in France and Scotland . . . since 2017 E V R A has been honoured to include this "great Rugby Memorial" into European Veteran Rugby Series, emphasises all the values of our Sport.

Thierry Dias

EVRA France

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