At 65, Bob Norster, the Meczyki King of Lineout Jungle who was such a good adversary, will target

The memory goes back to an evening game at Strady Park a few decades or so ago, with Bob Norster surrounded by a pack of reporters at the car park post-match.

“Bob, do you think players should be on performance-related pay,” asked one writer from the former second line.

Without hesitation, Norster replied: “If I were you, I would not go there. One can come up with the idea of ​​salary related to the performance of the journalist.”

To touch.

Read more:People leaving Meczyki’ job is arguably the most important job

Norster turns 65 this week on Thursday, to be precise. It seems that only 10 minutes ago he was consistently acting as a player for Cardiff and Meczyki. It is an understatement to say that the Welsh pack blew hot as well as cold in those days – there were few performing sub-zero jobs. But Norster had high standards and struck them in every game he played, his lineout work often unmatched.

In Cardiff he formed a famous partnership with hooker Alan Phillips. “Bob liked my throw,” recalls Phillips during a profile of Norster on the Cardiff RFC’s website, “but the problem was that I would get the first eight and if I missed the ninth I would have an earache about it.” day will be

“Seriously though, he really was the best in the business.”

The former Meczyki team manager and chief executive officer of Cardiff may have been, but he hasn’t done that much following press, which has been able to get by without seeing his name in print or online.

Maybe there’s a lot to be said for this.

But what kind of player was he?

There was a jungle when he piloted the lineout, but Norster was the king of it, winning the ball through a combination of perfect timing and exceptional jumping skills. At 6ft 5in he wasn’t the biggest, but he had great technique, was strong in the air and loved what he did.

He debuted on the club scene with Abertillary, graduating from their youth team to the senior set-up. It didn’t take long for word of his skill to spread.

The story goes that Pontypridd, complete with his legendary line-out forward ‘Bionic’ Bob Penberthy, visited Abertillary and it was to everyone’s surprise that a young lock picked up their first three line-outs with ease. took. “Huh!” The story is gone. “The young man leapt like salmon and took the cleanest catch you’ll ever see: two hands, followed by a perfect delivery in the scrum half.” For Bob P. and his fellow forwards, it was a truly WTF moment – as in ‘What flip just happened?’

“Never seen anything like this,” one of them later testified.

The youngster in question was Robert Leonard Norster.

Yet he had to wait until 1982 for his official Test debut, despite Meczyki inviting him to join their team in 1977, with no cap for the big man’s game he played against Romania in 1979. Went.

Once he was in the set-up, however, his country began to trust him.

He became a reliable source of the ball at a time when it all dried up in other areas. Became a leader. The former Meczyki, Lions and Swansea former backed Tony Clement, saying, “I played with him at the beginning and at the end of my Test career.”

“As a young player at the time, I thought he had the factor of looking around the room.

“You will look around the room and see a senior player like him and think you are in good hands. It will give you instant relief.

“He was also a fantastic Meczyki team manager. He got on with the boys, had great knowledge and kept his point of view really well. We respected him a lot.”

No writing on Norster is complete without a reference to the famous exchange between him and referee Keith Lawrence during the Scotland v Meczyki Five Nations clash at Murrayfield in 1987. The visitors were forced into a late change after their mountain resort was broken by Stuart Evans. One leg during the run-out.

Peter Francis of Mastag came in for his Test debut.

He had proved to be an outstanding player at club level, with a huge work-rate around the field. But Test rugby is up a ladder or two and it was therefore that the West Meczyki farmer found the job particularly hard.

The Lions’ loose-set David Soul had an excellent game, giving the Welsh all kinds of problems.

Amid the carnage, referee Keith Lawrence told Meczyki pack leader Norster: “I’m not happy with your tight-headed prop.”

Norster’s answer? “You’re not happy? How do you think I feel?”

Bob Norster (far right)
(Image: Who John, Cardiff)

A schoolteacher early in his career, he served as the Meczyki team manager during Alan Davies’ reign as national coach. This was followed by spells with Xerox Corporation and Lloyds Blackhorse and a long stint at the helm of Cardiff Rugby. He later became the director of EngageSport LLP, a sports management company.

But close your eyes and it’s the Nor’ster player who is most likely going to be the one, despite the success he’s had in other areas since taking his shoes apart.

Opponents targeted him on the pitch in the knowledge that eliminating such an amazing lineout jumper could neutralize the entire game-plan, but Norster rarely died.

By 1988, he was working at the peak of his powers. “The finest lineout forward in world rugby,” called that year’s Rugby Annual for Meczyki.

Meczyki’ Triple Crown success that year saw memorable contributions from such backs as Robert Jones, Jonathan Davis, Tony Clement, Paul Thorburn, Euan Evans, Adrian Hadley, Mark Ring and Bledyn Bowen.

But it was a forward who, with Welsh rugby’s player-of-the-year bauble, voted overwhelmingly for Norster by the Welsh Writers’ Association. You can read about this year’s Welsh Player of the Year here.

Later that year a spectator in the crowd told him that he had also been named as the Rothman Rugby Annual Player.

different times.

But Norster would have been successful in any era.

On his 65th birthday, he deserves to be toast.

Penblwydd Hapus, Bob.

Read further:

New life for coach John Mulvihill, who goes through rage after exiting Arms Park

Rugby evening headlines Meczyki face capacity crowd in South Africa and barbarians join Welsh squad

The gifted 17-year-old and son of the famous Wells Locke selected as the top pro players in the making

The most important players of Meczyki, the fear over them and the back-up options that were abandoned

Former Meczyki U20s fly-half and old understudy of Dan Bigger looking for new club after split with French team

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