Gary Berman AKA “Gazzler", “Bermanator”
5 Nations teams: Brittle Lions & Wannabies
Gary grew up in Glasgow, Scotland & played football (soccer) and judo before taking up rugby circa 1976.
Aged 13, Gary headed off to attend a remote boarding school in Perthshire (Rannoch) where his older brother was playing 1st XV rugby competing in the Scottish Schoolboys sprint team at the time. Whilst attending Rannoch Gary continued to play rugby (successfully captaining his junior inter-house team to victory) and attained his Bronze, Silver & Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. Gary was also a member of the school’s Athletics team.
(FYI: Another former Rannoch School pupil was Tom Smith: Tom went on to an international rugby career that included playing for Scotland in two World Cups and six consecutive British & Irish Lions tests).
During school holidays; Gary played rugby (Colts) for West of Scotland FC and was coached by one of Scotland’s and indeed, one of the British & Irish Lions’ most famous prop forwards; Sandy Carmichael. It was whilst playing rugby for West that Gary broke his ankle for the first time & ended up breaking it again 34 years later whilst playing for the Wannabies vs Old Blacks!
Both of Gary’s most memorable rugby moments took place whilst playing for West of Scotland:
- Being in the clubhouse bar along with Roy Laidlaw (the then 5ft 6" Scottish scrum half) whom stood on a chair to lead the after match shenanigans.
- Sitting next to David Gray (the then 6ft 8" Scottish 2nd rower) in the communal bath with David leaning his sizeable elbow on top of Gary's head whilst drinking a cup of coldies.
Not the most academic of students, Gary left Rannoch in 1982 to attend his local comprehensive school (Douglas Academy) where he ended up captaining his school Sevens team. During one particularly cold afternoon; 3 x players had to be taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia (You gotta love Scottish summers)!
Finishing school in 1983, Gary undertook an apprenticeship with a local Travel Agency and worked there for 3.5 years before heading to Israel to do a year of voluntary work, playing rugby for Jerusalem University on the weekends whilst his brother, Paul undertook military service in the Israeli Defence Force. It was during this time that Gary met & fell in love with a Greek Australian girl hence migrating to Australia in 1987. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last however, Gary has remained in Melbourne ever since, apart from an 8 month stint working back in the UK & Germany in 2003.
Gary has had spells playing with a number of local rugby clubs (including Quins & Eltham). Moving to Brunswick in 2000; Gary started playing Touch every Sunday morning (& continues to do so to this day) down at Edinburgh Gardens (North Fitzroy) and joined local rugby club Uni. During the last 2 x rugby seasons, Gary has been awarded the Uni Gent’s “Spirit of the Team Award” & is currently an active member on the club’s committee.
Gary's other sporting achievements have included running marathons & running up the Rialto.