TRIBUTES have been paid to a 20-year-old British rugby league player who was found dead in a hotel room hours after making his debut in France.
Batley Bulldogs scrum-half Archie Bruce had played for the Betfred Championship side against Toulouse on Saturday night before he was found in his hotel bedroom yesterday morning.
Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas said the club were ‘greatly saddened’ by Archie’s death.
He added: ‘Batley Bulldogs, the RFL and the RFL Benevolent Fund will be supporting the family while inquiries by the French authorities continue, with the club squad delaying their return to the UK.’
Sympathy for the player has flooded in from the rugby world. St Helens prop Alex Walmsley tweeted: ‘Incredibly sad news to wake up to, my condolences go out to his family, friends and team-mates at both Batley and Dewsbury Moor. RIP Archie.’ Ex-Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain star Keith Senior tweeted: ‘Never nice to hear news like this especially at such a young age. Condolences to all his family and friends.’
England winger Jermaine McGilvary added: ‘Such shocking news. RIP Archie, thoughts go out to his family.’
York City Knights media manager Gavin Wilson called it ‘desperately sad news’, adding: ‘Condolences to everyone at the club and friends & family of Archie Bruce. Just 20 years old and his first ever game. So, so sad.’
Archie had played for Dewsbury Moor’s under-eights team, and in the National Conference League for the past two years. The amateur club said they were ‘immensely proud’ he had made his professional debut.