SUMMER SERIES: World Famous in Whanganui

Even as a schoolboy William Michael (Bill) Osborne showed rare talent in just about any sport he tried his hand at but it was rugby that elevated him to the top tier.

Born and bred in Whanganui, midfield back Osborne graduated from the Whanganui High School 1st XV straight into the Kaierau senior club side.

In 1973 he made his debut for Wanganui four days after his 18th birthday. Selection for the New Zealand Colts followed in 1974 and he made the All Blacks for the waterlogged test against Scotland at Eden Park in 1975.


He played in 14 of the 24 matches on the 1976 tour of South Africa. In 1978 Osborne lost his spot for the home series against Australia but was back for the end-of-year tour of the British Isles and played in all four internationals as the All Blacks completed their first-ever Grand Slam against the home unions.

With Bruce Robertson (Counties), he formed one of the great midfield combinations of any All Black era.

Between 1975 and 1982, he played 48 matches with the All Blacks including 16

Since retiring from the game Osborne (62) has carved out a spectacular business career, and he is currently a director State Owned Enterprise Transpower, a director of Rangitira Services Ltd and Ports of Auckland Ltd.

In 2017 he was elected vice-president of New Zealand Rugby Union. Under the constitution, the NZRU the vice-president serves a two year term before automatically ascending to the president's position.

His previous corporate experience includes being group manager of New Zealand Post, CEO of Quotable Value, inaugural chair of 2 Degrees mobile, and being chair of CoreLogic New Zealand. He also served on the NZ Maori Rugby board.

He's of Te Atihaunui descent (Whanganui area) and has committed much time to Maori development over the years. He has served on the Maori Economic Development Commission and was responsible for establishing Te Huarahi Tika Trust, a pan Maori trust handling Maori interests in the radio spectrum. He also chaired Hautaki Ltd, the commercial arm of the trust.