The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

James Bridie (1857 - 1893)

 James was a Scottish-born rugby union scrum-half who played club rugby union for Cardiff and Newport, international Wales and county rugby for Monmouthshire.

Bridie was born in Greenock in 1857 and was educated in Madras College, St. Andrews, before moving to Wales. In the 1881 census he was described as a rope agent and was living in the centre of Cardiff with his wife Marion. Although playing for several south-eastern Welsh clubs, he is most notable as a Newport player; and it is as a Newport player he was capped for the Welsh national team. His one and only international appearance was against Ireland in a friendly match before the Home Nations Championship was introduced. The match against Ireland was only the second international Wales had played, and included eleven new caps, a reaction to the terrible defeat in the first Welsh game against England. Under the captaincy of Charles Lewis, Wales not only won the game, but Bridie found himself on the scoresheet when he scored one of four Welsh tries.

Although Bridie was not part of the team to face England in the opening match of the 1883 Home Nations Championship, he was selected for the second game, away to Scotland. The Scottish Rugby Union rejected his inclusion due to his original nationality, and he was withdrawn from the team, and never played for Wales again.

During the 1885/1886 season, Bridie had found work in Bradford, and left behind his connections with Welsh rugby. Still wishing to continue playing rugby he joined local club Manningham RFC. After just playing one game for Manningham he turned out for bitter rivals Bradford, before switching back to Manningham RFC. The Manningham supporters, created a chant based on the derogatory nursery rhyme, Taffy was a Welshman; despite the fact that Bridie was deemed not to be Welsh by the Scottish rugby fraternity.

International matches played: Wales - Ireland 1882