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.
1932-34 All Black Ernest "Ned' Barry was born on this day; he and his son Kevin (1962-64) and Liam (1993-1995) became the first 'three-generation' All Black family.
You cannot have a rugby match without a ball. According to legend, the ball that William Webb Ellis picked up and ran with at Rugby School in 1823 was similar in shape to the oval ball of today. Why Rugby School played with an oval football before running with it in one’s hands was allowed is a mystery, but the evidence is that balls of that shape were used for many years before Webb Ellis attended the school.
It could be that different forms of football were traditionally played with a pig’s bladder as the ball. Any good pig-hunter will tell you that a pig’s bladder, when inflated, is basically oval in shape. When, by 1840, leather covers were made for the bladders, they were fitted to that shape. Thus today’s rugby ball is a direct throwback to the pig’s bladder balls that were kicked around the playing fields of Rugby School early in the nineteenth century. The ‘feet only’ game of association football adopted the round ball on its own.
For years South African rugby favoured using an eight-paneled leather ball, as distinct from the standard four panels used elsewhere. In 1961 it joined the rest of the world in adopting the four-panel ball.
The first rubber bladders were made in 1870. Another significant change to the rugby ball came in 1931 when the rather squat shape of the early ball, which made for easier place-kicking and drop-kicking, was replaced by a narrower, more torpedo-like shape that is able to be passed more easily. The length was shortened by one and a half inches (35mm). A lace to hold the inner bladder together used to be found on every ball, but is now missing from the modern ball.
The main other differences that exist in the modern ball are that they are made out of synthetic rubber and have thousands of raised lumps on their surface. All are designed to give greater grip for the players’ handling. Whether they do aid catching and dispatching in a pass is the subject of endless debate among rugby watchers.
Also used on every ball are various brand names, as companies vie to have their ball used in major televised fixtures and therefore expand brand exposure and sales.
Who was the player in the All Blacks 1991 World Cup team who played in one test (against Italy) and never played for the All Blacks at any level before or after that game?