March 1, 2014 (ISN) – Former Canada coach and Australian international Max Howell passed away earlier in February after a long battle with cancer.
Howell made five appearances for Australia and played in 27 non-cap games for Australia shortly after World War II, making his debut against the All Blacks at the age of 19. He then went on to coach at the university and national levels.
During his time as a coach of Team Canada and the UBC Varsity rugby program, he revolutionized both the science and development of rugby in Canada. After touring with Australia, he moved to California to earn his masters and doctorate degrees in physical education and human kinetics. He began his tenure with UBC in 1954, accepting a position as a teacher and coach.
Howell is known for the knowledge and science he brought to the game, revolutionizing it in Canada when he introduced strategies and tactics like the elaborate scissor move and back plays. He utilized the world’s first running lineout in a game against the Wallabies in 1957/58, a tactic that is now used around the world at all levels of rugby.
“From a player’s perspective he was an amazing coach and student of the game. His knowledge of the opposition tactics prepared us in a way that there were no surprises,” said former Canada Men’s captain Pat Aldous.
Born 1927, Max lost his long struggle with cancer on February 2, 2014, aged 86. A great man who contributed to rugby in Canada and around the world through his teaching, studies and athletic achievements, Max will be missed in Canada, Australia and throughout the rugby world. On behalf of its members and organizations, Rugby Canada extends the thoughts and condolences of the rugby community to his family and all those touched by his life.