Bill MacLaren - RIP

He was the voice of rugby for so many years, and a truly well respected voice at that. He will always be fixed in my memories of watching the 4 home nations (and later the 5 nations) matches on flickering black and white telly when I was a lad. He brought me much pleasure and, I'm sure, contributed to my lifelong love of the game.

He will be much missed.
Very sad news, don't think that fantastic voice and knowledge of the game will ever be replaced. One of the sporting greats, even if only from behind the microphone. A dram will be raised tonight. RIP
Sad to hear this. The voice of the 5 Nations.

Always came across as a true gentleman and his utter passion for the game was second to none.

He had the best lines in Rugby Union:

*He's digging like a demented mole

*He’s like a demented ferret up a wee drainpipe.

*He plays like a runaway bullet (description of New Zealand wing Grant Batty).

*He’s like a raging bull with a bad head.

*That one was a bit inebriated – just like one of my golf shots (description of a missed goal kick).

*He kicked that ball like it were 3 pounds o’ haggis.

*They’ll be dancing in the streets of Hawick/Selkirk/ tonight???

*His sidestep was marvellous – like a shaft of lightning (description of Welsh wing Gerald Davies).

*The All Blacks that day looked like great prophets of doom.

*‘Tweet, tweet, tweet’ – commentary on Scottish full-back Peter Dods’ strange run up to a penalty kick.

*My goodness, that wee ball’s gone so high there’ll be snow on it when it comes down.

*He’s as quick as a trout up a burn.

*Those props are as cunning as a bag o’ weasels.

*And it’s a try by Hika the hooker from Ngongotaha (Wales v New Zealand 1980).

*I’m no hod carrier but I’d be laying bricks if he was running at me (description of Jonah Lomu).

*I look at Colin Meads and see a great big sheep farmer who carried the ball in his hands as though it was an orange pip.

*I’ve hardly ever had to pay to get in (the best thing in his view about 50 years of commentary at rugby matches
a crying shame, he was amazing with his animal references .... "the scrum half is in there like a demented ferret" and "the pack is moveing like migrating wildebeast" bloke sadly missed
As has been said previously, the voice of rugby when I was growing up.
He'd have me in stitches just saying the name, "Doddy Weir".
A true gent who will be sadly missed in the rugby & greater sporting world.

I was at the last match he commentated on (Wales v Scotland in Cardiff) he walked round the ground (as I believe he always did before a match) and the whole stadium stood and applauded as he passed....very emotional start to a match and the best demonstration of the respect people had for him.

RIP Bill hope the Stadium in the sky has a comfy seat set aside for you.

As a grandstand-watcher as a youngster we had Eddie Waring for months, who was your 'chattering class' with nothing to say to make the events on the pitch interesting.

By contrast, for the duration of the (then) 5 nations, MacLaren's knowledge and enthusiasm drew you into the action. His commentary was right up with the game, too - not just what happened 5 seconds ago and idle speculation that passes for commentary nowadays.

ISTR his voice changed somewhat after an infection, very distinctive. Hope the BBC do him justice at the weekend, but it will probably be endless darts.
There are so many truly memorable moments as many above have said. One that still sticks out in my mind was when the BBC as part of the Sports Personality of the Year, swapped the commentators around. Bill MacLaren had a snooker match and was just brilliant with lots of "like a demented ferret..."etc. It had me in stiches.

Rugby moments include Phil Bennet's try against Scotland in 1977, Jim Calder's try against Wales in Cardiff in 1982, Serge Blanco's try in injury time against Australia in the '87 World Cup Semi final and David Campese's try against the Barbarians in '88. And of course many, many more. The world is a duller place without him and I know they will be raising a glass in Mansfield Park (home of Hawick RFC) as well as rugby clubs the world over.
RIP. Thoughts are with his family.
I know he was ill for some time and was a true gentleman and one of the finest broadcasters, a true professional and totally unbiased.
He will be missed down atMansfield Park the Greenyards and beyond.
Very sorry to hear this news, another voice the majority of us here were brought up with has very sadly passed.

Many, many great memories listening to him.

Rest In Peace

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