Bull who went to rugby returns in a book

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 26/08/2014

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Taranaki's mascot McGillie the Highland bull first walked on to Yarrow Stadium wrapped in a Hurricanes flag.

"What happened is we put him in a parade for the Hurricanes and they said can we have him up the park?" Gail Simons told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

Simons, who raised McGillie, released the biographical book on his life this week.

"He was the first calf I bred on my own, he looked like a white teddy bear," she said.

The book contains a number of photos never seen before and facts only a few will know, Simons said.

Included is the story of how McGillie snapped one of his horns in a fight with another bull.

"We glued it back together and no one ever knew," she said.

After his appearance for the Hurricanes, the TRFU asked Simons if McGillie would join Taranaki's other mascot, Ferdinand the Bull, on the sidelines.

Simons would ride the shaggy bull around before the game started with her husband Trevor following close behind with the poo bucket. "We'd paint the bucket a different colour each week to match the other team."

McGillie was even taken to Eden Park when Taranaki played Auckland for the Ranfurly Shield.

"A lot of people thought he was stuffed," Simons said.

One boy found out the truth when McGillie relieved himself right in front him, she said.

Simons said McGillie brought the team luck that day and supported them for eight years before retiring to the paddock. McGillie died in 2007 aged 22.

The book, put together with Jago Print and Graphics, is being sold at the TRFU, Fun Ho! in Inglewood, Stoney Oaks, Kingsway Menswear and Mermaids in Moturoa.

MCGILLIE FACTS

Born October 14, 1985

Died September 1, 2007

His mother's name was Buffy

His father's name was Gillie Coir

He weighed 850kg

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