Dunedin born Doug Bruce was a relative latecomer to the international stage, making his debut for the All Blacks at the age of 29 against South Africa in 1976. The Canterbury player had actually been part of the New Zealand set up as far back as 1974, but was kept out of the full test side by Duncan Robertson. Doug played well in the first two tests against South Africa and some felt that it his omission from the third match was a mistake, New Zealand going down 15-10. He was back for the last game of what was a very tight series, but this game was lost 15-14, a case of "what might have been" for the New Zealanders. Doug dropped two goals in that series and it would prove to be his speciality - he scored 5 in 14 tests between 1976 and 1978 to equal the New Zealand record.
This was quite an impressive strike rate when one considers that Grant Fox only scored 7 in 46 matches. In addition to the two he notched up against South Africa, he added another against Australia in 78 and two more against Ireland later in the same year, becoming the first New Zealander to drop two goals in one match. Following the disappointment of 1976, the following two years were ones of great achievement for Doug. First of all he was part of the side that dispatched the British Lions 3-1, and then in 1978 played in all four matches of the Grand Slam tour of Britain. Despite their apparent dominance, the All Black's triumph hinged on a couple of key moments.
One of these occurred late in the game against Scotland at Murrayfield. Doug successfully charged down Ian McGeechan's drop goal attempt, allowing Bruce Robertson to score a try at the other end. A match that could easily have been drawn 12-12 ended up 18-9 to the Blacks and another leg of the "Slam" had been completed. Doug played all of his games for New Zealand at fly-half and was an excellent all round footballer, cool headed and as adept with the ball in hand as he was at his feet. (Jon Collins)