Thom Evans leads tributes to former coach William Gordon MacDonald
FORMER Scotland winger Thom Evans last night led tributes to his former coach William Gordon MacDonald – himself a former international – who has died at the age of 73.
Full-back MacDonald, known by his middle name Gordon, was capped once by Scotland against Ireland in February 1969 in a Five Nations match at Murrayfield – a replacement for Richard Allan in a 16-0 defeat – having played with London Scottish, but he was perhaps best known as a youth coach at Maidenhead Rugby Club with a keen eye for talent.
He is credited with discovering and developing the talents of both Thom and Max Evans, as well as England cap James Haskell and numerous other future international players.
MacDonald retired as head coach of the Maidenhead Colts in 2006 but was player development manager at the club in 2009 when he saw both Evans brothers and Haskell all take to the same pitch to contest the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.
On learning of his death, Thom Evans said: “This is extremely sad news. Gordon was such a good man and I have very fond memories of him.
“I first met him at trials for Berkshire County under-16. I took an instant liking to him and it was there he asked me to come down and play at Maidenhead Rugby.
“It was Gordon who taught me to play ‘heads-up’ rugby and to always back myself, something that never left me throughout my playing career.
“He was a great man, who taught me a lot, and his sheer passion for the game was second to none. He will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family.”
John Wanklyn, Chairman and CEO of Maidenhead RFC said: “Gordon has been a key member of the committee in the role of director of rugby, but will perhaps be remembered by most for the amazing success he achieved with our colts, leading them for several years to be one of the best teams in the country.
“During this time Gordon developed many of the players now in our 1st XV, but also players like Thom and Max Evans of Scotland and James Haskell of England.
“Of all of his young charges, one thing is clear, they all adored and respected Gordon for his insightful rugby acumen and direct, honest approach. Gordon was a great man and will be sorely missed by us all.”
MacDonald’s funeral will be held next Monday in Berkshire.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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