Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Underwoods still fly the England flag

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Underwoods still fly the England flag



    Underwoods still fly the England flag
    <DIV =LeadPara>IT is more than a decade since the Underwood brothers epitomised English rugby, and in that decade both the game and the charismatic wingers have moved on. But they remain instantly recognisable and united in their support for the national side, even if their busy lives mean that they may struggle to follow England's fortunes in the forthcoming World Cup. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>We met at the RAF Club in London because the brothers have been recruited to promote a new range of clothing branded by the Royal Air Force. There cannot have been too many other contenders for the role: Rory, the elder, flew jets for the RAF throughout his rugby career and beyond; Tony became an airline pilot when his playing career came to an end. But the commitment, though diligently undertaken, is a sideshow to their current professional lives. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Rory (85 caps, 49 tries) these days has a training company specialising in leadership techniques and team-building skills. His mobile phone rings constantly, and he applies businesslike rigour to the interviews. Tony (27 caps, 13 tries) is much more user-friendly, as befits a first officer with Virgin Atlantic. With the fluency of a pilot addressing passengers, he sums up his transition from professional rugby player to professional pilot. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>"I had 3½ or four years when I was working as a broker in the City and playing top-level rugby, then from 1995 I was a professional player at Newcastle, while the 1995 World Cup was still amateur,'' he recalls. "In the first place I had an understanding employer, so instead of long business lunches I could go to the gym, but training with Leicester meant a lot of travelling. I kind of had a foot in both camps, but when the time came to give up rugby, I embraced the change and I haven't looked back. I've been to watch a couple of games when it has fitted in with work, but to be honest, the closest I come to sport these days is when I look at the Telegraph when the plane is established in the cruise.'' Good PR man, Tony Underwood. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>He lives close to Lake Geneva, and with busy flying commitments rarely gets the chance to watch even televised rugby highlights. "My interest is intermittent,'' he admits. "But I watch as a fan. And I still know some of the individuals involved: Brian Ashton, for instance. I really like the guy. He has a great, relaxed mentality, and I think he knows how to bring people out of themselves in the best way.'' </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Rory insists that little of his experience as a player feeds into his management training role. "That's all from the past,'' he insists. "Of course, everything is experience, but what I do now really has nothing to do with rugby.'' But he retains a powerful interest in the national side. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>"I hope that England play and win,'' he says. "I am willing them to play and win. Over the last four years they have been a little bit disappointing, but over the last three games there has been some optimism about the way that things are going. It's the same with the cricket team, you get some optimism with good results, and then realism sets in. They are not going to win the World Cup.'' </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Tony interrupts: "They might.'' </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Rory responds: "Look, they might beat Wales in the quarter-finals, they might beat France in the semis, if they catch France on a cold day. But they won't beat New Zealand.'' </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The brothers, who rarely get the opportunity for face-to-face discussion, get into a good-natured wrangle about England's prospects, declaring mutual revulsion for the whingeing and moaning of the public and press. "I th
    Seas suas agus troid!
Working...
X