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Rob Andrew

Nation: England
Place of Birth: Richmond, Yorkshire
Date of Birth: February 18, 1963
Position: Fly half
Internationals: 71 caps between 1985 and 1997
Inducted: England v Romania (November 17, 2001)

Romania holds a special place in Rob Andrew’s international rugby union career, as it marks a hat-trick of firsts for the former England and Lions fly half.

While Andrew’s induction to the Wall of Fame at Twickenham is a reflection of all that he has achieved in, and done for the game, in more than two decades of playing and coaching, the timing of his elevation could not have been more appropriate.

His first major tour, in 1982, was with England Under 23 to – Romania. In 1985 he made his England debut against – Romania. In 1989 he captained England for the first time against – Romania, in Bucharest.

“There is no doubt that Romania has played a big part in my rugby life,” admitted Andrew, now director of rugby with Newcastle Falcons.

“I remember when I went on the Under 23 tour there, when Romania was still under the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceaucescu. It was my first representative tour. The country was effectively a police state. I remember that whenever we went out, which was not too often, every time we looked over our shoulders there would be a guy in a black leather coat and a trilby about 50 yards behind us, following us around. It was quite an experience being followed around everywhere.”

By 1985 Andrew had matured into a very promising fly half and it was the Romanians who had to look over their shoulders, almost from the start. “I dropped a goal after something like 70 seconds,” said Andrew. “It sort of kick-started my international career.”

As for his debut as England captain, in Bucharest in May 1989, he admitted: “The match came just after the Lions party to tour Australia had been announced and I was very disappointed not to have been selected. The Romania game and the captaincy therefore came at a good time.”

Debutant centre Jeremy Guscott scored a hat-trick of tries, Andrew another drop goal and at the end of that year the Ceaucescu regime was ended in bloody fashion. By then Andrew, having been called up as a replacement by the Lions, had played a part in the historic series win over the Wallabies.

Now Andrew has a permanent place at Twickenham, as part of a tribute to players from all over the rugby world to mark their achievements in and contribution to the global game.

The last word goes to Andrew. “Ever since my first visit to Twickenham for the 1982 Varsity match the place has been very special. Although there were only perhaps 25,000 people for that game I remember when our captain John Kingston left the tunnel, the roar that greeted him was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was still in the bowels of West Stand, second last in the Cambridge queue and I remember thinking, 'Christ, what is happening here?’

“There are so many great memories of the place, among them the three Grand Slams which were completed in front of own supporters and Newcastle’s Tetley’s Bitter Cup final win last season. That was extra special for me. But then, so is the Twickenham experience.”

Article by Dai Llewellyn


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