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Archie Bruce death: Batley director says ‘We don’t know any more, all I know is at 1am he was the happiest kid on the planet’

Jack de Menezes

Batley Bulldogs director John Miller has revealed the club do not know what happened to young scrum-half Archie Bruce after he was found dead on Sunday morning in his hotel room in the south of France, with his family flying out to Toulouse following the devastating news.

Twenty-year-old Bruce was found in the early hours of Sunday following the club’s 46-0 defeat against Toulouse, in which he made his debut for the Batley after only joining the Betfred Championship side from Dewsbury Moor last week.

Most of the squad flew back to the UK on Sunday night after the club elected to delay their return due to the circumstances, though senior members of the side as well as head coach Matt Diskin have remained in France to be with Bruce’s family, who arrived on Monday.

French Police have launched an investigation into Bruce’s death, and club director Miller said on Monday that he does not have any further details on the tragic circumstances that unfolded on Sunday morning.

"The first concern obviously was for Archie's family," said Batley director John Miller.

"The second concern was to get the rest of the players back to their family and friends.

"One or two stayed on with the chairman, who is due to come back today, but Matt is staying on to be with Archie's family.

"We don't know any more," Miller added. "All I know is that at 1am he was the happiest kid on the planet and a few hours later he's no longer with us."

A fundraising page set-up in memory of Bruce by the Rugby Football League’s Benevolent Fund to help his family has already surpassed £3,600, with fans from clubs across the country donating as well as rival teams.

You can donate to the fund here.

Toulouse also issued a statement to say they will help Batley in any way possible and decided against posting a video summary from Saturday’s match.

"The whole of our club is very deeply touched following the death of Archie Bruce tonight,” a Toulouse statement read. “We send our condolences to his family, his family and the Batley club. Toulouse does and will do its utmost to support the club. Given this tragic news this Sunday morning, we will not broadcast the video summary of the game against Batley today."