Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Voice of Rugby: A Tribute

Bill McLaren

The legendary Rugby commentator Bill McLaren died today. For anyone with even a passing interest in Rugby Union in the second half of the 20th Century his was a familiar - and authoritative - voice.

He was born in Scotland's Rugby heartlands and played the game himself until he had to give up after contracting TB. After this enforced departure from playing the game, he moved into commentating in 1953. He pursued this new career for almost 50 years, only retiring in 2002. During this time he acquired his title as The Voice of Rugby, as well as being awarded the CBE, OBE and MBE.

His commentaries were alive with wonderfully descriptive phrases. His knowledge of the game, it's laws and it's history was encyclopedic. His preparation for each match was extensive ensuring he had all the background, statistics and information he needed at his fingertips. Most of all he had a real passion and love of the game.

For me he was the epitome of what a sports commentator should be: Someone who loves their chosen sport, knows it inside out and has the ability to communicate both to their audience. He was courteous and professional, had a wonderful voice for listening to and was both informative and entertaining.

It was sad to hear of his death, but his memory will live in a generation (or two) of Rugby fans for whom he will always be the definitive voice of the game.


The BBC's obituary can be read here.

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