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About Bill

Bill, known variously as Big Bill, Old Bill, sometimes just Big, or Bull (in my playing days) – which might suggest that I am rather large, or old, or both.

More correctly, I am both. Big and Old, that is.

I will not bore you with my working history, suffice that it is long and varied.

I have been involved in the game of rugby for well over 50 years, as a player, spectator, coach, and commentator.

My coaching career was the longest of my various levels of involvement, with over 20 years as a coach. I started right at the bottom, as a gofer for some pretty senior coaches, progressed to coaching schools rugby, then into club rugby and assisting at a provincial level.

I have various formal coaching qualifications, I have attended more rugby clinics and discussion groups and session that I care to remember.

I attended coaching clinics, referee association lectures, I spent hours watching legendary coaches at work, the likes of Stoney Steenkamp, Danie Craven, Basil Bey, Cecil Moss, Hannes Marais, Sakkie van Zyl, Henning Snyman, Dawie Snyman, and a host of others, and absorbed as much as I possibly could about the game.

I had the opportunity to work with some great clubs – the now-defunct OudStudente in Bloemfontein, False Bay Rugby Club, Windhoek Wanderers, Pirates in Johannesburg.

I served time as a provincial sub-union selector alongside future Springbok coach, Harry Viljoen, and conducted coaching clinics for club coaches in lower leagues, much like those I had attended when I started out as a coach. I worked with some great club I worked with some great players too.

I was lucky enough to work with a whole lot of provincial level players, all of whom contributed to my own experience and knowledge base. I also had the opportunity to work with a number of international players. Peter Winterbotham and Chris Butcher of England come to mind, and two 1995 World Cup winners, Kobus Wiese and Gavin Johnson.

I was a lucky man.

The arrival of the professional era heralded the end of my involvement as a coach. I had to choose between a coaching job and my career.

I also had a young family, and my job and coaching together would ensure that I never saw them during waking hours.

Reluctantly, sadly, I was forced to quit my position as a rugby coach. I did serve one term as Club Captain of Pirates after I quit coaching, but I could not do justice to that position either, I was out of town too often. At the end of my term as Club Captain I stood down from my last formal rugby position.

I turned to writing about the game, and assisting school level coaches with problems and issues they had with players or teams. I stayed in the game as a consultant rather than a full-time coach.

I eventually retired to my Armchair and started to take pot-shots at rugby administrators, the holy cows, and the problems and faults I see in the game, while still actively supporting and commenting on the game.

And that is where you find me today. An Old Bill, watching the game from my Armchair and sharing my less than humble opinions with the world.


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