Jack Rowell obituary


When rugby union’s wall of amateurism started to crumble within the late Nineteen Eighties and early 90s, Jack Rowell’s Tub membership have been already skilled in all however title. Tub dominated English membership rugby and it was inevitable that Rowell, who has died on the age of 87, would go on to teach England.

Rowell’s time as nationwide coach was a turbulent one and he was a divisive determine. Advanced, acerbic and delicate, he was profitable on the nationwide stage, main England to a grand slam and 21 victories in 29 video games. However he got here into battle along with his high-profile captain, Will Carling, handled the media with ill-disguised contempt, and his time with England didn’t finish fortunately in 1997.

Rowell, a profitable businessman outdoors the world of rugby, offered himself as an anti-establishment determine. A bluff, imposing determine at 6ft 7in, he turned one thing of a poacher-turned-gamekeeper when he took the nationwide teaching job after the time period of Geoff Cooke.

At Tub he would typically inform a few of his star gamers: “That could be adequate for England, younger man, however not for Tub.” That slicing, if tongue-in-cheek, strategy to man-management labored within the membership atmosphere at Tub, the place he was seen as a godfather determine. But it surely reduce little ice with senior England gamers comparable to Carling and Rob Andrew.

What can’t be disputed, although, is Rowell’s success with Tub, who turned an unstoppable drive. The membership received 13 trophies between 1978 and 1994, and so they did so enjoying a blinding model of rugby by no means earlier than witnessed within the English membership recreation. Rowell was a visionary coach who admired the panache of Pierre Villepreux’s Toulouse membership, and he needed Tub to win by enjoying entertaining, 15-man rugby. His energy was team-building and recognizing the precise gamers to permit him to finish his imaginative and prescient.

Born in Hartlepool, he was the son of Monica (nee Day) and Edwin, a coal-shipping supervisor. He was educated at West Hartlepool grammar college and studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at St Edmund Corridor, Oxford.

In his first weeks at college Rowell injured his neck enjoying rugby and was instructed his enjoying profession was over. Nevertheless, cussed as ever, after a interval working as a chartered accountant he returned to enjoying in his late 20s when he appeared as a lock ahead for Hartlepool, Middlesbrough after which Gosforth, who have been on the time a drive in English membership rugby. After 4 years with Gosforth he turned their coach, main them to John Participant Cup wins in Twickenham finals in 1976 and 1977.

Shifting to Bristol to take up a job as finance director of Lucas Meals Components, he approached Tub with the concept of changing into their coach, however the extra conventional parts on the membership have been cautious of his outspoken popularity and he was initially rebuffed. They quickly modified their thoughts, and each Rowell’s enterprise and rugby careers took off. He turned chief government of Golden Marvel Meals, the place he noticed the potential of a little-known product referred to as Pot Noodle, after which a director of the meals firm Dalgety, of which Golden Marvel turned a component.

After taking the reins at Tub, Rowell started to construct his formidable profitable machine. He noticed the potential within the Bristol fly-half Stuart Barnes. Bristol have been a a lot larger membership than their native rivals in these days however Rowell was glad to exchange John Horton, who had helped England win a grand slam, with the younger fly-half who was to go on to grow to be an essential lieutenant of the coach and play for England himself.

Rowell additionally harnessed the skills of gamers comparable to Jeremy Guscott, Simon Halliday, Jon Corridor and Nigel Redman to eclipse Leicester as the main drive in England.

It was no shock when England got here calling, and an early grand slam and a overcome South Africa in Pretoria in addition to an epic World Cup quarter-final win over Australia in 1995 gave discover that Rowell’s England have been a significant energy. However Jonah Lomu trampled over England’s World Cup hopes of their semi-final and issues started to unravel for Rowell.

His strained relationship with Carling took a brand new flip in 1996 when he made the Tub centre Phil de Glanville his new captain. This was an eccentric transfer by the coach. De Glanville had been tearing up timber at his membership for some time however now Rowell needed to drop both Guscott or Carling, breaking apart what was then arguably the simplest centre partnership in world rugby. Guscott misplaced his place for some time, a baffling end result for England supporters.

Underneath Cooke, England typically performed forward-dominated rugby and Rowell did no less than attempt to broaden their horizons – beneath him they dominated what was then a median 5 Nations Championship. He was, nonetheless, successfully a part-time coach, having mixed that job along with his position on the Dalgety group. He rejected a proposal to increase his contract in 1997 to concentrate on his enterprise profession.

Later he turned a non-executive director at Bristol and the membership’s managing director earlier than returning to Tub as director of rugby in 2002. He was made OBE in 1998.

Rowell’s spouse, Sue (nee Cooper), a instructor whom he married in 1969, died final 12 months. The couple had two sons, Dominic and Christian, who each survive him.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here