Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Credit where it's due...
Not me. The criticism that Andrew habitually receives is just ridiculous. I know I have previously declared my interest when it comes to Andrew, but I am genuinely often bemused at the amount of flak he has to take.
Those that like to lambast Andrew point to the the so-called "fact" that he was a dull, limited, kicking fly half.
Firstly, it's not true. Whilst it can be said that England did, for a period, play a more limited (albeit highly successful) game with Andrew at 10, it is equally true that England’s record try scorer – Rory Underwood – scored most of his 49 international tries with Andrew at fly half – as did Jeremy Guscott, 4th on the all time England try-scoring list. Andrew won 71 England caps, 5 Lions caps and 3 Grand Slams and appeared in a World Cup final. Not bad for a so-called limited player.
And secondly, why would that have anything to do with Andrew's role at the RFU?
Throughout his 10 year tenure at the RFU, it appears the main criticism levelled at Andrew is that he has survived various coaching, management and board regime changes at the RFU over that period. In other words, people simply seem to be a bit pissed off that he hasn’t been sacked, a phenomenon that might just be explained by the fact that over the years he has done a rather good job.
Andrew’s primary role at the RFU over the last 10 years has been the negotiation and management of the agreement between the RFU and England's professional clubs. A complex and difficult task, often conducted against the backdrop of what, to the outside world at least, has appeared to be a toxic political maelstrom at TW1, Andrew has, quite simply, delivered. Put simply it is no accident that there is now a conveyor belt of young English-qualified talent coming through the system from the clubs to the national team.
I’m sure he would be the first to admit that mistakes have been made along the way but, please, let’s give credit where its due - in a fair world Rob Andrew would walk away from the RFU with his head held high and with our thanks.