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.
'Oh oh!' He scored 4 tries in Cape Town as NZ made the 3rd Rugby World Cup final. Beating England 45-29.
VAN VOLLENHOVEN, TOM
Northern Transvaal and South Africa
7 internationals for Sth Africa 1955–56
Acclaimed as a man who might have become South Africa’s finest wing, van Vollenhoven indeed fashioned a reputation as a great try-scoring wing – but it was for St Helen’s at rugby league.
His international rugby career was cruelly brief. After his debut as a centre against the 1955 Lions, van Vollenhoven moved to the wing and promptly became the first player to score three tries in a test in South Africa. In the second test in Australia the next year, he kicked a dropped goal – it was only the second time he had ever attempted one – but his form fell away in New Zealand and while he played eight of the first nine matches, he played only the third test.
The crew-cutted van Vollenhoven was reckoned to be inconsistent, but there was nothing unreliable about him in the matter of scoring tries. In his 19 matches on that long tour, van Vollenhoven scored 16 tries, but was such a natural and instinctive player that selectors found him difficult to fit into a team pattern.
He certainly proved them wrong, or misguided, with St Helen’s.
Players with the surnames of Jones, Williams and Thomas when added together made up how many players in the Welsh squad at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia?