** We have been informed that Rex Smith's funeral will be held on 19th February at 13:15 at Milton Malsor Crematorium**
It is with sadness that we have heard of the passing of former club coach Rex Smith.
Many will remember this quiet, unassuming gentleman who never boasted about his achievements, but who played for Otago in New Zealand for a number of seasons and joined us as club coach in the early 1990’s. His heroics for Otago against the British Lions are well documented* when they narrowly lost to the boot of Phil Bennett. No-one could ever question his enthusiasm and skill as a coach with his views and vision, which were way ahead of other sides at our level at the time. He spent his time locally living in Yardley Hastings and was successful as a management consultant.
As a player he was small for a flanker but only missed out on being capped for New Zealand due to injury. The player who replaced him was Graham Mourie who captained the side. Laurie Mains described him as the best back row player never to play for the All Blacks.
He certainly changed the attitude of the playing side in terms of what happens on the pitch and introduced a professional attitude while sticking with the amateur ethos of a community rugby club. No better praise than from Tom Salsbury, Club President and former Northampton Saint , when he says that Rex was the best coach he has played under.
On match days, Rex could be seen standing behind the posts, sporting his Mac and yellow wellies and keeping a careful watch over proceedings. Half-time team talks were short, sharp, to the point and delivered in his colourful Kiwi lilt. We are sure his coaching legacy lives on in many players that he struck a chord with.
He will be in the thoughts of many past players at ORFC and will be greatly missed by family and friends.
RIP yellow wellies.