Memory of rugby legend aids students

Students, from left, Brad Meeson, Fin Field and Iain Sexton are benefiting from the Bedell-Sivright scholarship

Students, from left, Brad Meeson, Fin Field and Iain Sexton are benefiting from the Bedell-Sivright scholarship

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University of Edinburgh rugby club have launched new scholarships commemorating a former student who became one of Scotland’s greatest players and a decorated war hero.

Wing forward David Bedell-Sivright debuted against Wales in 1900 and went on to win 22 Scotland caps.

He remains the only Scot ever to play in three Triple Crown winning sides (1901, 1903 and 1907) and also captained his country.

Bedell-Sivright died in 1915 while serving with the Royal Naval Division during the Gallipoli campaign but not before becoming Scottish amateur heavyweight boxing champion on his retiral from international rugby.

Money to underwrite the scholarships has come as a result of donations from Edinburgh University alumni around the world including at a dinner prior to last season’s Calcutta Cup fixture attended by some students from the 1930s.

David Adamson, head of men’s rugby at the University of Edinburgh, says: “The scholarships are for two purposes; to attract the best rugby talent available to us to and also to support potential and current players with further courses of study, who may not always be able to afford it.

“This season, we are awarding scholarships to centre Iain Sexton, who was involved with the extended Scotland Under-20 squad last year, Fin Field, a current Hong Kong Under-20 second row, who is now committed to seeking Scottish representative honours through his parents, and Brad Meeson, another centre and an excellent club man who is receiving assistance to undertake a Masters degree.”

Edinburgh University took the decision a couple of years ago to withdraw from weekend league rugby and Adamson says the approach is working well.

“With annual fees running at £9000 in some instances, players really can do without being torn between studies and weekend commitments.

“The system we have adopted fits players’ lifestyles and does leave them able to pursue representative honours including with an Edinburgh Under-20 team in a new inter-district championship.

“As for student matches, we are in a transitional phase with two wins from six but around eight or nine freshers gaining valuable experience.

“Hopefully, the scholarships will attract other players to come to university at Edinburgh and play rugby.”