Bill McLaren inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame

Twenty-five greats of the game whose careers spanned three centuries, have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Wembley Stadium before the eagerly awaited Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C match between New Zealand and Argentina.


Bill McLaren was the only non-international to feature in the latest round of inductions, honoured for his unforgettable BBC commentaries. Bill's daughter Linda Lawson, was deeply honoured to attend the special presentation on the 20th of September, 2015 to receive a framed cap from World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset and chief executive Brett Gosper.


Universally loved, Bill McLaren was known as the ‘Voice of Rugby’ throughout his distinguished broadcasting career. Having seen his dream of playing for Scotland dashed by tuberculosis, McLaren used his extensive knowledge of rugby to entertain and inform BBC viewers for the best part of half a century. His love of the game was infectious and his distinctive Borders brogue helped bring the game to life for armchair fans up and down the country.


The former Hawick flank forward made his BBC debut in 1953, commentating on Scotland’s 12-0 loss to Wales and provided commentary on the same fixture in his last match, nearly 50 years later in 2002.


McLaren was meticulous in his preparation and had a brilliant turn of phrase for every occasion. Players would be honoured to be mentioned in his commentaries, even if they were likened to “a mad octopus, all arms and legs”, as was the case with gangly Irish wing Simon Geoghegan.


Many of his former rugby disciples during his days as a PE teacher in Hawick went on to play for Scotland, as did his son-in-law Alan Lawson and grandson Rory Lawson

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said of all inductees:


“The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.


“The latest set of inductions includes some real legends, players who have helped to shape the image of rugby and inspire generations of fans. They are truly some of the biggest names in our sport over the past 100 years or so and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top-level rugby over the decades. Each of these 25 inductees has made a positive impression on the sport that will last the test of time.”


The full list of inductees into the World Rugby Hall of Fame (in alphabetical order) is:


Phil Bennett (Wales), Naas Botha (South Africa), Gordon Brown (Scotland), Marcel Communeau (France), Gerald Davies (Wales), Mervyn Davies (Wales), Danie Gerber (South Africa), Tim Horan (Australia), Andy Irvine (Scotland), Carwyn James (Wales), Barry John (Wales), Tom Kiernan (Ireland), Gwyn Nicholls (Wales), Basil Maclear (Ireland), Bill McLaren (Scotland), Edgar Mobbs (England), Hennie Muller (South Africa), Morne du Plessis (South Africa), Ronald Poulton-Palmer (England), Tom Richards (Australia), Jean-Pierre Rives (France), Fergus Slattery (Ireland), Wavell Wakefield (England), Joost van der Westhuizen (South Africa), John Lewis Williams (Wales).


For more information, please visit World Rugby Hall of Fame

© Bill McLaren Foundation 2016 Registered Charity Number SC041238

The Bill McLaren Foundation

Heart of Hawick