Newsman Bashir one of the ruggers among us


Rugby has some high-profile fans and former players in the media and entertainment industry. DirecTV president and CEO Chase Carey, Fox Sports chairman and CEO David Hill and Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts (who now heads USA Rugby) are among them. So is ABC News' Martin Bashir, the London-born anchor of "Nightline" and "20/20" correspondent. He told The Hollywood Reporter New York bureau chief Georg Szalai that he and the sport go way back.

The Hollywood Reporter: How long have you been a rugby fan?
Martin Bashir: I started playing at age 11 and was immediately hooked. Our head of physical education was a mad Welshman who insisted on teaching rugby. I have also learned to love Fiji for the way they distribute the ball and am also encouraging the development of Rugby Union in India, where the nation was accepted as a fully fledged international team in 1998.

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Newsman Bashir among the ruggers among us

THR: Which rugby teams/clubs have you played for?
Bashir: I played for School (Wandsworth Boys), London Welsh Juniors, Wimbledon and the Village Lions in New York.

THR: Who do you think will win the Cup?
Bashir: New Zealand, France or South Africa ... and I worry that England may be battered by South Africa and depart at the quarterfinal stage.

THR: Who will you root for?
Bashir: I always root for England. The last World Cup was remarkable ... but now the team this year is unlikely to frighten anyone.

THR: How and where will you watch the Cup?
Bashir: I'm hoping to see at least two games (live) in Paris. If not, I'll call Andy McKee of the Village Lions, and he'll direct my path to a local hostelry in New York where fellow countrymen will cheer England on ... come rain or shine!