"Our sympathies are with Bette McLaren and the family," he said. "Bill McLaren was a world-class person and No1 commentator in the world. He has touched so many people's lives throughout the world and the messages and tributes that have come in to the SRU from all over the world underline that.
"For me, he was synonymous with the Five Nations when I was growing up. He provided real information about the game, and the players involved in the games, and his knowledge and preparation for that was second-to-none.
"But he also enthused about the game and made it entertaining, and that was something else that I loved.
"How many people have imitated Bill McLaren, or tried to impersonate him? That showed the huge impact he had. Our thoughts are with Bette and the family and their loss of a tremendous person."