SAC Scott Stevenson library image
Rugby League

UKAF Rugby League Chief: SAC Scott Stevenson's Death 'A Huge Loss'

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Groce said it was a privilege to know Senior Aircraftman Scott Stevenson and that his death is a "tragedy".

SAC Scott Stevenson library image

The head of the UK Armed Forces Rugby League (UKAFRL) says the death of Senior Aircraftman Scott Stevenson is a "tragedy".

The RAF full-back was stretchered off with a head injury in an Inter Services match against the Army on Friday evening and later died in hospital.

Since SAC Stevenson's death was announced, a number of tributes have been made to the rugby player.

Speaking to Forces News, UKAFRL chairman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Groce said SAC Stevenson will be sorely missed.

"Scott was one of those really nice people that you never walked past them and not say hello because he was such a good person and he would never not walk past you without saying hello, either," said Lt Col Groce.

"I've been privileged to know him for the last three years since he joined the UK Armed Forces fold.

"We'll just miss his kindness and his genuine personality.

"If I was to speak to him again, I'd probably just put my arm around him and say 'Go on Scotty lad, give us a usual performance that you always put in'."

Watch: The head of UKAF rugby league on his memories of SAC Scott Stevenson.

In 2017, SAC Stevenson was picked to represent UKAFRL at the World Cup in Australia but he was injured shortly before the team departed.

He said back then that "the opportunity to represent UKAFRL in Australia, is without a doubt my greatest achievement I’ve done since I started playing rugby when I was eight".

Lt Col Groce said when he first saw SAC Stevenson play, he thought he was a "really talented full-back" with "great balance". 

He said had SAC Stevenson not been injured before the World Cup then "he would have definitely been one of the standout players".

"He [SAC Stevenson] was just able to find that gap and exploit it so easily," said Lt Col Groce.

"He was phenomenal in defence as well - a real, all-round, great full-back.

"Not only a huge loss to the team but a huge loss to our sport."

Senior Aircraftman Scott Stevenson
Senior Aircraftman Scott Stevenson in action for the RAF (Picture: RAF News).

Lt Col Groce also joined SAC Stevenson's family in praising the medical staff at both the stadium in Aldershot and at St George's Hospital.

In a statement, SAC Stevenson's family said: "Rugby was Scott’s whole life from as early as six years old.

"We take great comfort in the knowledge that he passed doing something he loved, surrounded by his teammates, all of whom care about him dearly.

"Few of us are fortunate enough to leave life in such a way."

Lt Col Groce said that was a "consolation" that himself and the UKAF team will take forward.

"It's had a huge impact on me... you don't organise a sport to see somebody pass away," he added.

"For it to have ended this way is an absolute tragedy and it does cause you to question many things."

A decision on whether the RAF will play their final game against the Royal Navy this coming Friday is expected later this week.