Edinburgh and Scotland forward Magnus Bradbury has revealed the shock he felt as his mother suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this year and the difficulties the Covid-19 restrictions have had on his ability to see her regularly as she recovers well at home in Oban.
Dee Bradbury became the first woman to be president of a tier-one rugby nation’s governing body when she assumed the role with the Scottish Rugby Union in 2018 after a spell as vice-president. The former police officer was approaching the end of her tenure as president when she suffered the heart attack in mid-June as the country was just beginning to ease out of full lockdown.
With Dee in the vulnerable category, the virus added an extra burden to the worry of such a serious health emergency but 25-year-old back-rower Magnus, who has 14 caps for Scotland, revealed that his mum is doing well.
“Really good,” he said. “She’s had a couple of check-ups and she’s recuperating and trying to keep busy in the family house in Oban.”
Mrs Bradbury’s time as president ended in August when Lasswade’s Ian Barr succeeded her to become the 128th occupant of the role and her son said that he had been given lots of support.
“When it happened, the team was very good and said to take as much time as I wanted and to see her if I can,” he explained. “She was locked down in hospital and with everything that’s going on, there were a lot of discussions about when the best times to go and see her were.
“I would like to have seen her more than I have, but it’s all been within the rules and keeping those social distancing guidelines, not for the law’s sake but for her sake, because she was in a difficult position for a while.
“It wasn’t nice. My dad did well and she was in the best possible care in hospital so I can’t speak highly enough of the people that helped her, especially with what’s going on and how busy they must be.”
Bradbury has focused on his rugby as the professional game has resumed following months of shutdown due to the pandemic and the former Oban Lorne player is hoping for a starting slot when Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill names his team tomorrow for Saturday night’s 2020-21 season Guinness Pro14 opener against Ospreys at BT Murrayfield.
The injury to Fijian Bill Mata, who undergoes surgery today on ankle ligaments and will be out for around eight weeks, leaves a gap in the back row but Bradbury said: “First of all, in regards to the team it’s a shame that Bill’s out because we know how good he is and what he brings to the team and what he can do when he’s playing,” said Bradbury.
“But yes, it always presents an opportunity when there’s an injury. That’s how most guys begin their career, like myself. There is that but you can’t forget there’s a lot of competition in that back row.
“Just because a guy is injured doesn’t mean someone else is going to step in right away, there’s no logical first choice. For me, it’s just keep doing what I’m doing and if Cockers wants to put me in there then I’ll take it with open arms.”
Having gone through what he has with his mother’s illness, Bradbury doesn’t need to be told about the importance of the squad following the restrictions in place at present as the virus spreads once again in the country.
“We’ve all got our guidelines and our rules that we are expected to follow,” he said. “For a lot of it is the same as you see in the news every day. For us, rugby is our job, and if somebody in the squad gets it then rugby stops and you are putting other people at risk. It is not about personal feelings, it is about other people’s families, so that’s the risk factor we are dealing with.”
Despite the uncertainty and complications Covid-19 brings, Bradbury is looking forward to the new season and feels that he has matured a lot since he was stripped of the captaincy following a weekend drinking incident after Cockerill had made him skipper as a 21-year-old just over three years ago.
“I’d like to say that I’ve personally grown and have that maturity which obviously wasn’t there when Cockers first arrived. It was a harsh learning curve for me and I’ve developed a lot since then.
“When it comes to the rugby pitch, we are all more consistent in the way we train. A couple of years ago we’d have good days and bad days, but now no matter what they chuck at us – whether it is fitness, conditioning or contact sessions – the boys just chew it up now.
“The boys just know how it needs to be done to prepare for the next game, and personally I understand that a lot better now.”
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