THE Alldritt clan name will have first registered with most Scottish rugby fans during the 2019 Six Nations, when French back-rower Gregory Alldritt scored two tries against Gregor Townsend’s team in a 27-10 victory for the home side at the Stade de Francais. It was noted at that time that the youngster, who was making only his third international appearance, had strong family connections with the country he was up against – and that now includes a brother who has been a key man in Stewart’s Melville’s ascent to the summit of National League Two in recent months.
Scott and Grégory’s father Terence moved to Stirling when he was 12-years-old having been brought up initially in Kenya and then attending boarding school in South Africa. As a result, the siblings – and their older brother Tom – always knew of their Scots heritage and now with Scott playing rugby and living in Edinburgh the connection to the country is as strong as ever.
“When we were growing up in France we had our grandparents in Scotland as well as our auntie, uncle and our cousins so we were usually here once or twice a year to visit,” explained 26-year-old Scott, who scored two tries last weekend as Stew-Mel saw off fellow National Two challengers Dumfries Saints at Whitecraigs. “We really felt half French and half Scottish, and we have always loved that mix, so to see my brother score two tries for France against Scotland in front of a packed out Stade de France crowd last year was very exciting … but quite surreal for us all.
“It all happened so quickly for him, he only properly went fully pro with La Rochelle in the summer of 2018 and by that December he was training with the France squad.
“He made a lot of sacrifices along the way and myself and the rest of the family are very proud of him, but I don’t think it really hit me how far he had come until that day [against Scotland] when 80,000 people were watching him play.
“Since then I managed to get out and see him play against Tonga in the World Cup in Japan, although we missed out on the England match because it was called off.
“Now they are getting ready to play England again on Sunday, I will be heading over to the Stade de France this weekend and hopefully he will be in the match-day 23 because they have a lot of new players in the wider France squad and a lot of competition for places.
“Further down the line, of course myself and the rest of the family hope to see Grégory run out for France at Murrayfield on March 8th against Scotland, then everyone from both sides of our extended family would be happy!”
That trip to Paris this weekend means that Alldritt will miss Stew-Mel’s rearranged National League Cup quarter-final clash against Preston Lodge on Saturday, but he will be forgiven by head coach Jonny Else and his team mates given the great form he has shown since joining the club.
“I was brought up with my family in Auch in south west France and I didn’t take up rugby with my local club FC Auch Gers [now called RC Auch] until I was about 13 because I was concentrating on judo before that,” he explained. “After school I went to university in Toulouse and although I was quite busy with my degree in mechanical engineering which took five years I still managed to play in the Academy at US Colomiers to keep my rugby going.
“When I finished my final year of under-23s rugby I had to decide whether I wanted to play lower leagues in France and try and make my way up the levels or concentrate on my career. I moved to Cheltenham in England to work in the aerospace industry in September 2015 and after I had got myself settled there I joined Old Patesians to play rugby in the summer of 2016.
“It was a great club to be part of, everyone got along really well, we were not a big club with brilliant facilities, but that made us all close-knit and we enjoyed playing for each other. My two years there really made me believe in the ‘rugby family’ because I made so many good friends during that spell before moving to Edinburgh in November 2018.”
He ended up in the Scottish capital to work for Leonardo, a global high technology company that is a key player in aerospace, defence and security. As with his time in Cheltenham, he took some time out of rugby to get up to speed with his new life off the pitch – specialising in strategy and long-term planning for the company – before getting back to the sport last summer.
“I had met some people down south who used to play for Royal High Corstorphine and because they knew the kind of standard I was used to playing they thought I should give National Two a go and they introduced me to people at Stew-Mel and I haven’t looked back since,” he explained.
“Everyone has been so friendly from the minute I started pre-season training and I think the squad has really come on since the start of the campaign.
“We were very disappointed to lose at Peebles [on January 18th] and that fired us up for the Dumfries game last weekend. It was very important to beat them because things are so tight at the top of the table. I think now just four points separate the top five teams. for example.
“We have eight league games to play and are still in a Cup so it should be a busy, but exciting few months to come at Stew-Mel – and hopefully for Scotland and France in the Six Nations too!”