Legendary Syd Millar dies


A natural leader and visionary.

This is how dr. Syd Millar, former Irish prop, coach and manager of the British and Irish Lions, was remembered on Monday after he passed away at the age of 89.

World Rugby says in response that Millar, who served as chairman of the then International Rugby Board (IRR) between 2003 and 2007, will be remembered as one of rugby’s best statesmen.

“Millar was one of the best players, coaches and managers of his generation,” says Sir Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby.

“He led the reformation of the game and presided over what will be regarded in rugby circles as the first modern Men’s World Cup in Australia in 2003, a historic Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2006 and a ground-breaking Men’s World Cup in France in 2007.”

Millar was elected president of the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1995, and represented this union with distinction in the IRR from 1992. Millar also served as chairman of the British and Irish Lions between 1999 and 2002.

Millar, at the time a stalwart of the Ballymena Rugby Club and Ulster Rugby, made his debut for Ireland in 1958 and played in a total of 37 matches. Millar also toured with the British and Irish Lions three times: in 1959, 1962 and 1966.

Millar would later coach Ireland between 1973 and 1975 and lead the Lions on an unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974. He also served as manager of the British and Irish Lions on the 1980 tour and of the Irish during the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.

The title Commander of the British Empire (CBE) was awarded to Millar in 2005 after he had earlier received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

Later in 2009, Millar was also honored in the International Rugby Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Légion d’honneur.

“I know I speak for colleagues and the global rugby family when I say Syd Millar was a giant of the game on the world stage,” says Beaumont.

“Syd, as influential in the boardroom as he was brilliant as a player, coach and manager, was a natural leader and visionary, someone who cared deeply about the sport, its people, values ​​and future.

“Syd has led the sport through some of its most defining moments, driving the expansion and development of the sport beyond its heartlands. He was an inspiration to me and many aspiring administrators and will be greatly missed.”