Bill Hayward Ph.D. biggest influence was watching his Dad ‘Big Phil’, punch it out on the rugby field when he was 8 to 14 years of age watching from the sideline as he played for club and county Cornwall. Mum gave some sage advice and said, “Don’t look at the punches or listen to the blasphemy”.
Bill played for Tunbridge Wells, as did British Lion Martin Correy who recently played his last game on English soil captaining the Barbarians against England, the country he captained 17 times. William had the greatest fortune from the age of 17 to have had the greatest coaches still in the current game. He attended Carne- gie College but while undertaking his Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. However, Bill elected to play for Headingly over the College team.
Headingley was a top D1 team at the time. Bill‟s coach was Ian McGeechan who coached the British and Irish Lions. Ian has a brilliant rugby brain and actually is one of the few coaches who were back line players. Ian mentored Bill for 3 years as full back and fly half. There really is nothing that has changed about the simple principles, despite the modern game’s changes.
Bill went to undertake his Masters in Sports Science at Loughborough University (a powerhouse of collegiate rugby and frequent Twickenham 7’s participants). Again he was in the presence of a coach who was one of the most cerebral of all time; Jim Greenwood, the famed author of “Total Rugby”. (trust me you needed to have a degree to appreciate this masterpiece).
After gaining his masters Bill was recruited by Harlequins where he fought for his spot and again had a fantastic coach; Dick Best (later the England national coach); a great straight foreword coach, Dick was fantastic yet different to many before.
In 1987 Bill was offered the opportunity to study for his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology in the USA. Bill had not made the top national levels in England and realized he probably was not going to. Oppor- tunity landed him in Albuquerque. Prior to his arrival, he received a correspondence from Dan “Baluga’ Jeffries and Dick Greene inviting him to join the Albuquerque Aardvarks. The rest is history! Bill brought his style of play and soon was made aware of a very different flare and passion the club possessed. All 15 players running hard, passionate and beyond anything athletically he had played with in England. Rough, yet some of the most flowing open rugby he have ever witnessed let alone of which he had been a part. The Aardvarks were a family till the end. They were protective of Bill to the hilt, and wanted to run on every occasion. They had the tools, they won out over every coaching philosophy Bill had embraced- and they were right!
Bill had the pleasure of selection to the Rio Grande select, then the West, the Eagles and played sevens for Atlantis under Emil Signes (a great coach) who had been with the Eagles sevens squad from 1989 to 1992. Bill eventually made his debut for the Eagles against Japan in Chicago on May 4th 1992 then against Canada in Calgary a couple of weeks later. He also played a couple of non tests against Canada, scored 15 pts against France for the West against France in Vail and was on the bench against France twice and Scotland and Japan. It has been a fantastic ride! Subsequently went on to play 3 internationals tests and then five years for Classic Americans in Bermuda in the World Rugby Classic. Actually had three tackles total…‟Smoking Joe Stanley of the “all Blacks‟, Danie Gerba of South Africa, and Philip Sella of France!.