The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Robinson turns to twelve-year-old outside centre for France game

England youngster
'Good enough, old enough'

Posted 8th Feb, 2005

After the failure of the Mathew Tait experiment in Englandís defeat to Wales, head coach Andy Robinson has turned to an even younger player than the Newcastle eighteen year old in an attempt to fix up his injury ravaged midfield.

Andrew Jackson, an uncapped twelve-year-old from Plymouth, Devon, will be lining up against France in the upcoming Twickenham clash. 'Iím never afraid to select young, talented players if I feel they are ready,' said an under pressure Andy Robinson at a press conference at Twickenham.

Andrew Jackson will be the youngest player to line up for a test match in English history. The threequarter, who has scored thirty-three tries this season for Plymouth Wanderers Under 13s, is thrilled at his call up.

'Iím meant to be visiting my Grandma this weekend, but I hope that Mum will let me off for once,' said the enthusiastic schoolboy. Upon hearing the news Jackson went out and bought a new autograph book so he could get all his teammates autographs.

Jackson got the nod after his consistent performances in the South West Mini League which has seen him return a strike rate of more than two tries a game. 'You canít argue with those figures,' said Robinson. The coaching management rebuffed queries about Jackson being intimidated by his larger, more physical opponents, citing Jacksonís experience in tackle practice against his fifteen-year-old brother in his backyard. 'He hits low and hard,' said defensive guru Dave Aldred.

Robinson hopes that his unknown player will overcome the potential physical limitations by the fact there is little video footage or statistics available on Jackson for his French opponents to watch. The only useful footage of Jackson, a clash between Plymouth and Exeter Under 13s, was held by his mother until it was accidentally erased last week when she taped an episode of Eastenders.

However, the potential hitch in Robinsonís scheme is that Jackson must make sure his room is tidy or his mother claims he wonít be going anywhere: 'Every time I go in that room I break my neck on something or other. Itís his last warning, I donít care if his mates are playing some big game on the weekend or not.' Robinson is considering adding a ĎDomestic Arrangements Managerí to his plethora of coaching staff to address the potential crisis.

Jacksonís Plymouth coach, John Reid, was Ďpleasedí with the recognition of his outside centre but was more worried about the effect it may have on his sideís Sunday fixture with local rivals Torquay Minis. 'Itís a half term weekend so Iíve lost half my squad to holidays, groundings or trips to Grandma,' said Reid. 'As pleased as I am for Andrew it couldnít have come at a worse time, to be honest.'<