Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
You are here: Home » To 1995 Tongan rugby International and now TV commentator Willie Los'e
This Ten Questions idea is to ask a leading rugby personality; either a player, or from the the media or an administrator some questions which may prompt a response from them which we have not heard of before;
Here is an example of what one can achieve in one's 'post-rugby' life through perseverance and concentration. I first got to know Willie when his international rugby days from Auckland and North Harbour in New Zealand were over and he was nearing the end of eight years of playing in Japan. He had played for his native Tonga at the 1995 Rugby World Cup and had had a 'good life' from the game. From my early conversations with him I learned that he was heading towards a crossroads in his life. What to do next?
Apparently the idea of broadcasting came into his horizon. He had a stint at the microphone with us in the very early years of the IRB Sevens World Series in Japan (in 2000 I think) and maybe that was the taster. Soon Willie was back in New Zealand and committed to attending a Broadcasting School in Wellington. From there his pass marks took him into stints, firstly on radio in Auckland on NewsTalk ZB and more latterly as a full-time commentator on Super 15, ITM Cup and more IRB Sevens events on Sky TV in New Zealand and in many parts of the world. This genial character, sometimes the life and soul of the party, is also in demand as an after-dinner speaker and gym instructor.
My thanks to Willie for his willingness to open up to 'Ten Questions' on keithquinnrugby.com
The great Auckland and All Black winger Bryan Williams was one. I really loved watching 'BeeGee' play. But I grew up out in West Auckland and there was a massive Rugby League following out that way then. So I loved seeing those brilliant Kiwi outside backs Dane O'Hara and Fred Ah Khoi play too.
Vancouver in Canada I think is one of the nicest cities in the world. I've been there recently and loved it. It has a lot of similarities to NZ.
I'm really not sure. Am I the best person to ask?
I totally deplore all the backstabbing there seems to be too much of in life. I also hate, can I say - gutless wonders!? You know what I mean.
Not really although in my playing days I would always put on my left sock first. I never quite knew why!
Firstly, I'll go for two of my very proudest moments? That's easy. Becoming a dad for the first and second time were days I will never forget. Then in a rugby sense playing my first test at the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995. It was Tonga v France at Loftus Versfeld Ground in Pretoria. I cried right through the Tongan National anthem - I just wished and wished my parents had been still alive to have been there.
It's a piece of art I commissioned to be painted for one of New Zealand's best beaches in the far north. And the lovely house I designed on the water in which the painting sits.
Being with mates, friends and family with lots of love and laughter......Perfect!
I have yet to attend a Commonwealth Games or Olympics but I hope to achieve either or both of those over the next four years. Now that I'm fully into my broadcasting career those two are the 'biggies.'
I've always liked the little expression I heard first years ago; 'Put your hand Up not out.' I reckon that has worked for me.
Born in Stratford, Taranaki and All Black prop Mark Allen was forever known as 'Bull' (named after an American TV character). He became so popular Rugby Park in Taranaki was re-named the 'Bull Ring' for a time.
Wellington and New Zealand
18 internationals for N. Zealand 1987–89
One of the rugby union world's most brilliant attacking fullbacks of the 1980s but who at the peak of his rugby union powers, was lost to rugby league.
John Gallagher was a young fullback living in London who decided to accept an offer of a rugby-playing holiday in Wellington, New Zealand in 1984. By 1986 his life had changed. He had decided to stay in New Zealand, he had embarked on a career with the police force, and late in the year he was included with the New Zealand All Blacks for their tour to France. He was very much a second-stringer on that tour, playing twice at centre.
It was a different matter in 1987. Given the confidence of being chosen as the number one fullback for the first Rugby World Cup, Gallagher’s speed and brilliant intrusions from fullback became a powerful weapon in the All Black armoury.
In his second test match, against Fiji at Christchurch, Gallagher scorched in for four tries (equalling the then New Zealand record for one test match) and helped make many more as the All Blacks raced out to a 74–13 win.
Gallagher played five of the All Blacks’ games at the World Cup, including the final, and was seen as one of the tournament’s most brilliant players. That kind of form followed him through 1988 and 1989, on four other All Black tours.
In May 1990, Gallagher, by then firmly ensconced as one of the country’s most popular sporting heroes, suddenly announced that he was heading for rugby league. The news sent shock waves through New Zealand rugby circles. There was at first disbelief and a little scorn from some, although soon emotions quietened and sensible Kiwis wished him luck in his new career.
The departure of Gallagher to rugby league, along with fellow All Blacks Frano Botica, John Schuster and Matthew Ridge, awakened New Zealanders to the realisation that their national game was not the only one on the sporting horizon. The departure of ‘Kipper’ Gallagher also left an extremely hard-to-fill gap in the All Black backline. No player would be quite like the flying redhead from the Oriental-Rongotai club in Wellington.
Gallagher signed with the Leeds rugby league club after 18 tests for the All Blacks. He scored 13 tries in tests, and in one game, in Japan in 1987, he scored 30 points. His signing fee was reported to be $NZ1.3 million (at the time about £420,000), well in excess of the previous reported world record fee.
In the decade from the 1960s through to the fourth test of 1970 the All Blacks played exactly 100 test matches. What % did they win?