Wednesday 18 October 2017

Kevin Myers: The McLaren myth was of rugby on a Saturday with stocky men called Dougie and Murray

Kevin Myers

THE greatest moment in Bill McLaren's broadcasting career came at half-time at Twickenham in 1982 when a streaker ran across the pitch. "Uuagh!" he chortled in the half-Lallans that was his first tongue, "there's a young fellow there, and he's so excited he's taken his shirt off, heugh heugh heugh."

The "young fellow" was in fact 21-year-old Erica Roe, the owner of two very large breasts; so large, indeed -- chest-measurement 42 inches, bra-size 34 FF -- that they had great trouble keeping up with her. Even when she stopped running, her mammaries only ceased bouncing several seconds later. Schoolboys interested in physics -- and there are many -- would have cited them as a perfect practical example of simple harmonic motion. But Bill McLaren never noticed either of them. Having spotted the "young fellow" without the shirt (for of course, only men are to be found on the rugby pitch), his mind returned to rugby from which it seldom strayed.

It was good that Bill died so soon after Ciaran Mac Mathuna. They belonged to different lands and different cultures, and I'm sure they never met, but they had this in common; they were utter gentlemen, and masters at broadcasting, who brought love and detail and passion and human regard to everything they did.

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