121 Andrew Thomas ‘Andy’ Earl

Height 191
Weight 98
Birthplace Christchurch
Previous Clubs Tuhurangi

Also Played:
Canterbury : 1982-84-85-86-87-88-89-90-91-92 ; 126 G, 33 Tries, = 132pts
Canterbury Country : 1983-84-85-86
NZ Colts : (U21) 1982
NZ Junior’s : (U23) 1984
NZ Emerging Players : 1985
South Zone : 1987-89
South Island :1985-86
NEW ZEALAND : 1986-87-88-89-91-92 ; 45g, (14 Tests) 14 t , = 57pts
Career : 234 games , 57 tries, 229pts

Member 1987 World Cup Winning Squad

Andy Earl  #870

Andy Earl was one of those rugby players who was a victim of his own versatility. He always wore the tag of a utility and for that reason even though between 1986 and 1992 he was invariably a first choice for any touring team he received few tests.

He gained 14 test caps but was never a regular test selection. Indeed, he only became an All Black as one of the development type players suddenly catapulted into the test lineup because of the suspension for two tests of the Cavaliers for their unauthorised tour of South Africa in 1986.

Earl thus was one of the celebrated Baby Blacks. In the famous test win at Lancaster Park Earl was used as a lock, where he frequently played both in provincial rugby and for the All Blacks even though at 1.91m and being under 100kgs he didn’t quite have the height or weight for the position.

In the next test played by the Baby Blacks, against Australia at Athletic Park, Earl played on the blindside flank. His next test start was as a No 8 in the final pool game of the 1987 World Cup tournament against Argentina at Athletic Park.

That was Earl’s only appearance in the 1987 tournament, and thereafter his test career followed a sporadic pattern.

But he continued to be a regular tourist, adding to the tour he made to France in 1986 by touring Japan (1987), Australia (1988), Ireland and Wales (1989), France again (1990), Argentina 1991, the World Cup again in 1991 and as a replacement to Australia and South Africa in 1992.

On all of these tours Earl was top value and while he appeared in none of the tests he was especially impressive in Australia in 1988, forming a potent second string backrow trio with Mike Brewer and Zinzan Brooke.

Earl’s most effective position was as a blindside flanker and he excelled in the position when an injury to Alan Whetton gave him the 1989 internationals against Wales and Ireland.

But he was displaced as first choice by Whetton’s return the following year. Whether this was fair was a moot point. The severe hamstring injury Whetton suffered in 1989 meant he was never quite the same force he had been in 1987 and 1988 and certainly there was a good case in 1991 for Earl being preferred.

Earl’s international career appeared to be over only for him to be called in as a reinforcement for the All Blacks’ tour of Australia in 1992. He played in the second test against the Wallabies and came on as a replacement for Robin Brooke in the third test.

The circumstances behind Earl joining the 1992 All Blacks illustrated his considerable toughness and almost elevated him to legendary status.

With little major rugby behind him he went straight from battling snow blizzards to save stock on his North Canterbury farm to play almost immediately in the heat of Australia.

Truly a rugged outdoorsman, Earl was never noted for his airs and graces. He was nicknamed “Wurzel” after the television character and because of a suspicion the Earl mop of hair most mornings received only the briefest of combings.

Earl also had a distinuished record in provincial rugby. As a 17-year old he represented Wairarapa-Bush, playing in the side which under Brian Lochore’s coaching won first division status in 1981. After four seasons with Wairarapa-Bush Earl returned to his home province and as a lock, blindside flanker and No 8 played a leading role in the 1983-85 Ranfurly Shield era. His 126 matches for Canterbury plus the 34 he made for Wairarapa-Bush meant he is one of the few players, and the first, to have appeared against every New Zealand union.

Subsequently he played in England for The Rugby Football Club, and his New Zealand teammates would be surprised to know “Wurzel’s” photo appeared in the Rugby Football Club programme, modelling clothing sponsored by Rugby Cement.

His brother, Chris, a prop, played for Canterbury 1984-91 and for N Z Colts, Emerging Players and the South Zone.

Profile by Lindsay Knight
for the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

 

FULL NAME Andrew Thomas Earl
BORN Tuesday, 12 September 1961 in Christchurch, New Zealand
AGE 59
PHYSICAL 1.91m, 98kg
POSITION Utility forward
LAST SCHOOL St Bede’s College
RUGBY CLUB
(First made All Blacks from)
Glenmark
PROVINCE Canterbury
NICKNAME Worzel
ALL BLACK DEBUT Saturday, 28 June 1986
v France at Christchurch
aged 24 years, 289 days
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT Saturday, 28 June 1986
v France at Christchurch
aged 24 years, 289 days
LAST TEST Saturday, 25 July 1992
v Australia at Sydney
aged 30 years, 317 days
ALL BLACK TESTS 14 (4 as a substitute) 14
ALL BLACK GAMES 31 (4 as a substitute) 31
TOTAL ALL BLACK MATCHES 45 (8 as a substitute) 45
STARTING POSITIONS Jersey Number 5 : 1

Jersey Number 6 : 7

Jersey Number 8 : 2

Jersey Number 16 : 4

ALL BLACK TEST POINTS 12pts (3t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
ALL BLACK GAME POINTS 45pts (11t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
TOTAL ALL BLACK POINTS 57pts (14t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
ALL BLACK NUMBER 870

1980 season

3
Played
0
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

1982 season

14
Played
2
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

1981 season

13
Played
2
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

1979 season

6 2
Played
1
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

All seasons

36 2
Played
5
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

1980 season

Wed 14 May 2:30 pm H Representative Match Wellington 03 - 16
Sat 09 Aug 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC Thames Valley 03 - 17
Sat 04 Oct 2:30 pm H Representative Match WaiBush Invitation XV 07 - 19

1982 season

Sun 04 Apr 2:30 pm A Tour Queensland 32 - 09
Wed 26 May 2:30 pm H 1st Division NPC Wellington 09 - 09
Mon 07 Jun 2:30 pm A 1st Division NPC Hawkes Bay 21 - 03
Tue 29 Jun 2:30 pm H Representative Match NZ Juniors 12 - 13
Sat 31 Jul 2:30 pm A 1st Division NPC North Auckland 28 - 03
Wed 04 Aug 2:30 pm A 1st Division NPC Auckland 46 - 06
Sat 07 Aug 2:30 pm A 1st Division NPC Waikato 15 - 19
Sun 15 Aug 2:30 pm H 1st Division NPC Counties Manukau 11 - 12
Tue 24 Aug 2:30 pm H 1st Division NPC Bay of Plenty 16 - 03
Sun 29 Aug 2:30 pm H Representative Match King Country 12 - 09
Wed 08 Sep 2:30 pm H 1st Division NPC Otago 12 - 10
Tue 14 Sep 2:30 pm H 1st Division NPC Manawatu 14 - 24
Sat 18 Sep 2:30 pm A Representative Match Horowhenua 12 - 45
Wed 29 Sep 2:30 pm A 1st Division NPC Canterbury 51 - 06

1981 season

Wed 13 May 2:30 pm H Representative Match Wellington 14 - 25
Sat 30 May 2:30 pm H Representative Match Hawkes Bay 10 - 06
Wed 03 Jun 2:30 pm H Tour Scotland 09 - 32
Wed 05 Aug 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC Ngāti Porou East Coast 00 - 21
Sat 08 Aug 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC Poverty Bay 04 - 15
Tue 11 Aug 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC King Country 03 - 09
Wed 19 Aug 2:30 pm H 2nd Division NPC Marlborough 38 - 06
Tue 01 Sep 2:30 pm H 2nd Division NPC Thames Valley 32 - 06
Sun 13 Sep 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC Whanganui 06 - 18
Sat 19 Sep 2:30 pm H 2nd Division NPC Horowhenua 31 - 04
Sat 26 Sep 2:30 pm H 2nd Division NPC Taranaki 15 - 06
Tue 29 Sep 2:30 pm H Representative Match South Canterbury 16 - 00
Sat 03 Oct 2:30 pm A Representative Match Southland 09 - 10

1979 season

Wed 18 Jul 2:30 pm H Representative Match NZ Juniors 00 - 29
Wed 08 Aug 2:30 pm A Representative Match Manawatu 35 - 06
Wed 15 Aug 2:30 pm A 2nd Division NPC Poverty Bay 09 - 03
Sat 25 Aug 2:30 pm H 2nd Division NPC Thames Valley 07 - 12
Wed 26 Sep 2:30 pm A Tour NSW Combined Services (Aus) 06 - 06
Sat 29 Sep 2:30 pm A Tour Hunter Hills (Aus) 00 - 09