Roger Uttley, England 1973 to 1980
Date of Birth:
September 11, 1949
Place of Birth:
23 caps between 1973 and 1980
Roger Uttley (England)
The following article has been adapted from the original by Dai Llewellyn, which focused on two players. It has been changed to highlight only the selected inductee’s information.
Inducted: England v France (February 13, 2005)
Roger Uttley (England)
Remarkable as it may seem, it was not his first appearance as an England player at Twickenham that Roger Uttley remembers so clearly, even though victory that day was England’s first in the Championship for two years. Rather it is the England v France fixture two years previously.
“Gosforth had played Richmond in the morning and then we all went to Twickenham to watch the international in the afternoon,” recalled Uttley, who went on to be Director of Physical Education at Harrow School before retiring in 2008. “We were in the old North Stand, surrounded by French fans waving replica cockerels on poles. The atmosphere was fantastic. And the match ended in a draw.”
Two years later he was back at Headquarters as a player, having won his first cap in the defeat against Ireland a fortnight earlier. “It was scary prospect,” he said. “It was the old Twickenham so the crowd was right on top of us and France were fielding some legendary players – the likes of Lux, Trillo and in the pack Walter Spanghéro, whose very name commanded respect. It was a great occasion.”
Like so many big occasions it passed in a blur – it must have, because Uttley did not remember that England actually won the match. But he had near-perfect recall of his debut as England captain, again at Twickenham, but this time against Scotland. “I really enjoyed captaining England. There was honour and pride in doing it.”
He also scored a try – his second and last for his country – late in that game. “It was from close range. I just concentrated on keeping my legs pumping and just driving. I went over the line under a pile of bodies, but one of my legs was free and I waved it in celebration at scoring. I was pretty chuffed.”
Uttley has better recall in his post-playing career. He distinctly remembers the occasion when, after the 1991 Rugby World Cup final, he – now the England coach – watched as Sir Peter Yarranton, then President of the RFU, ushered Prime Minister John Major into the steamy home dressing room.
“As they walked in so Mickey Skinner emerged, stark naked from the showers. ‘Oh,’ says Mick the Munch. "Prime Minister – top man!’”
Which also sums up the calibre of this Wall of Fame inductee. Uttley, top man.
Article by Dai Llewellyn
Images © Museum of Rugby, Twickenham
The Wall of Fame consists of a series of plaques on the walls of Twickenham Stadium. It acts to honour legends of the world game while celebrating 100 years of rugby at Twickenham. One essential criterion for induction was that each person must have made some sort of impact at the home of rugby. The first induction onto the Wall was at the England v Australia game in 2000. At each Test at the Stadium two players were inducted until 2010 when 100 players had been commended.