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Mark Hoskins

Mark Hoskins writes

Posted Sunday, October 3rd 2021

Obituary: George Kouzaris

Bristol Bears regret to announce the death of former player George Kouzaris. George played for the club in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appearing for the first team as both a scrum half and full back. He also played well over 100 matches for Bristol United.

George Kouzaris was from a Greek-Cypriot family. He was born in Cyprus in 1957 and was six years old when his family moved to Bristol. He attended Bishopston Secondary School, where he first learnt to play rugby, and he went on to play for Bishopston. He joined Bristol Colts in the 1975-76 season, initially as a scrum half, though he switched to full back to accommodate another scrum half, Lawrence Yandell. In the 1976-77 season George’s talent and enthusiasm won him the Colt of the Year trophy; he also made his Bristol United debut in this season.

George made his first team debut against Newbridge on Boxing Day 1977, and he was awarded his Bristol United cap at the end of the 1977-78 season. It was in this season that he featured in a remarkable John Player Cup tie with Moseley at the Memorial Ground. Moseley were hot favourites to win, having lost just four times during the season, and Bristol had injury problems at the time. However, two tries from 20-year-old winger John Lane, plus a barnstorming try from a lineout from Nigel Pomphrey brought an unexpected home victory. George was 20 at the time, and he played at scrum half for most of the second half when Alan Pearn went off with a knee ligament injury. It was only his third first team game, but he played well and contributed to a classic win.

George was awarded his first team merit cap in 1981-82, and in all he made 54 first team appearances, scoring two tries and a single conversion. His final first team games were on the club’s tour to Zimbabwe in May 1983, though he continued to play for the United in the 1983-84 season. George had a remarkable record of service with Bristol United, playing in 137 matches for the club’s second string side and scoring 27 tries. He was a reserve for Gloucestershire on a number of occasions, although he never actually got to play in the County Championship.

George Kouzaris lived in BS7 and was a regular presence on Gloucester Rd. He was deeply proud to have represented Bristol and had many friends in the rugby community. His death occurred just over a month before his 64th birthday. All at Bristol Bears send their sincere sympathy to George’s family at this very sad time. 


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