Brumbies mourn death of popular referee

William Patrick Boyle
26/10/1989 - 20/10/2011

Brumbies Rugby and the local rugby community are deeply saddened by the tragic death of an exceptional referee talent.

Will Boyle will be remembered as an extremely impressive man, who belied his youthful looks as a referee, showing a feeling for the game well beyond his years.

An ARU referee scholarship holder whilst at Canberra Grammar School, Will had already clocked up over 170 games including 11 premier 1st grade appointments by the end of the 2011 season.

It was clear to many he was destined for greater things when he became the youngest person by a considerable margin to officiate the ACT premier reserve grade grand final this September. 

Successful appearances at the Darwin 7s and recognition of his potential as a No. 4 match official at Super Rugby level allowed him to demonstrate he was up to the next tier and cope without fluster under pressure.

Only in a short period, he gained the respect of experienced coaches and players alike, who openly complimented Will on the way in which he managed a game of rugby.

Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to Will’s family, friends, match official colleagues and those that were fortunate enough to enjoy his company on and off the field.

He will be deeply missed by the local rugby community, but remembered with the greatest of fondness and admiration.

The following is a letter from Nathan Kearns, Vice President at ACT Rugby Referees Association

I am terribly saddened to learn of the tragic passing of one of our own, William Boyle.

Will started refereeing while he was a student at the Canberra Grammar School, and showed his potential early in being awarded the School Student Scholarship in 2006 and 2007 and being consistently appointed to 1st XV matches whilst in year 12.

2007 also saw Will win the Bruce Portway Whistle for achieving the highest marks in the Level II Referee course.  Upon graduation from the Canberra Grammar School, Will began studying at the University of Canberra and began working in hospitality with the Hyatt at Parliament House.

Will’s refereeing star continued to rise. In 2009 he was selected to go on referee exchange to Waikato and completed a successful year winning the B.A.R Trophy for the ACT’s most improved Referee.

2010 Saw Will travel to South Canterbury on exchange and he was rewarded for impressive performances in making his 1st grade debut at ANU Oval in the match between Uni-Norths and Queanbeyan. He completed his stellar season by winning the Monaro Trophy and was appointed to the Second Division Grand Final as referee.

The summer of 2010/11 saw Will journey to Fernie, British Columbia for a Canadian winter and life experience. Upon Will’s return his dedication and preparation was rewarded with consistent 1st grade appointments, winning the Les Ramsey Trophy and being appointed to referee the Reserve Grade Grand Final.

His athletic prowess impressed all who trained with him. Will displayed excellent agility, speed off the mark, quick feet and a freakish ability to upstage anyone at every sport that he played. His hard work and dedication to his training inspired those who surrounded him and created an enjoyable atmosphere.

There were many who competed with the aim to beat Will, in either drills or games, and not many can put their hand up and say they were victorious, but we can all say we tried.

Although Will’s on field achievements are quite impressive, he will be remembered most for the man he was off the pitch. His infectious sense of humor and the ability to ensure that everyone was enjoying themselves is but one of his many talents.

Whether it was in the changing rooms before a match, working hard at training or having a quite drink, it was always easy to see that Will was the life of the party. He had a way with communication that could bring the best out of people.

Many a time have I been left in awe of a young man who was so at ease in himself that he could say, or do whatever he wanted, and have everyone in the room wish they were him.

An honest friend, Will was never short of company. Those who were lucky enough to call him a mate can attest that his genuine charm and charisma were complemented by his warmth and selflessness. His ability to welcome others into any situation and make them feel at ease was consistently backed up with generosity to help any and all of those who were in need.

Will’s positive outlook and energetic charm will be sadly missed. Unfortunate and tragic circumstances can deeply affect the way in which we live, and this time is no different.

My sincerest condolences go to Will’s family in what can only be a devastating time for them. Will was a true friend in with whom I am extremely fortunate to have crossed paths. 

 “He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery