Some made you laugh, some made you cry and most of them made you feel the excitement, intensity, chivalry and sheer sportsmanship of international rugby at the highest level. This is Part 4 of 4 posts about the late great Bill McLaren, known as the voice of rugby, he simply had a wonderful way of painting pictures with words
Lineout Jumping (Continued)
“Wade Dooley the big Blackpool policeman standing like a lighthouse at the back of the lineout”
On Doddie Weir (and told by Doddie) “Doddie Weir as much help as a lighthouse in the desert ”
On another lineout jumper “Jumping like a border salmon in a river”
“The balls as slippery as a wet trout”
“I tell ye, that ball’s like a bar of soap down there.” After a ball was knocked on
Absolute Classic McLaren
“He can smell a try like a forest animal”
“The All Blacks that day looked like great prophets of doom.”
“And it’s a try by Hika the hooker from Ngongotaha.” (Wales v New Zealand 1980).
I think he also described trying to tackle Jonah Lomu as trying to tackle a snooker table
“I’ve seen bigger legs hanging out of a crow’s nest”
When asked what was the best thing in his view about 50 years of commentary at rugby matches.
“I’ve hardly ever had to pay to get in.”
“A day out of Hawick is a day wasted.”
Bill McLaren was also a PE teacher. One of his students, George Thorburn, told me he often said “Last out of the changing room gets three strokes of the cricket bad”
“But I got it last week Sir?” says George.
“Well make sure yer no last next week!”
Finally – in terms of sportsmanship, Bill was magnificent. When hearing a crowd booing a kicker and the kicker kicked successfully, he’d often say “A just response to that ill-mannered whistling”.
Bill McLaren Quotes Part 1 includes quotes about Celebrations; Fisticuffs; Tough Guys; Big Guys and also a beautiful piece written by Bill’s daughter, Linda, specifically for us.
Bill McLaren Quotes Part 2 has quotes about Big Guys and Runners (15 x Quotes)
Bill McLaren Quotes Part 3 has quotes about Runners (& jinkers); Passing; Kicking and Lineout Jumping (15 x Quotes)
Part 4 Line-Out jumping (continued), Weather Conditions, Classic Mclaren, Looking Back and Sportsmanship (15 x Quotes)
Bill McLaren’s spirit lives on – here in this blog and in The Bill McLaren Foundation.
Please add a comment on this blog on (a) any quotes you recall and (b) what Bill’s commentaries meant to you. Please also pass on and share this link to rugby fans and sports fans worldwide – to young and old. Thank you. Paul Smith