It was 2002 when the brilliant Bill McLaren – the nonpareil among sports commentators – hung up his mic, and yet his is still (and I suspect forever shall be) the “voice of rugby”. Sadly, he died today, and I’ll miss him.
Although I never met him or knew him, he was undoubtedly one of the most influential people in my decision to take up rugby almost 30 years ago. He introduced me to the rivalry, the passion and (above all) the sportsmanship of the game through the medium of his rich and distinctive commentary.
Maybe it’s just that rolling Borders brogue. Or his unique brand of similes that most novelists couldn’t match if they wrote till they were 90 (“He’s like a demented ferret!”). Or the unerring ability to make what can be a very complex game incredibly simple for the layman to follow.
Whatever it was, he was an extraordinary commentator and a great communicator.