Joe Ansbro

Joe Ansbro (Born Glasgow, 29 October 1985) is a former Scottish international professional rugby union player. He is the first player of African origin to represent Scotland at test level in history.[2][3] His favoured position is centre. He most recently played for London Irish.[4] After gaining 11 full international caps his rugby career ended due to serious neck injury at the age of 26.

Joe Ansbro
Birth nameJoe Ansbro
Date of birth (1985-10-29) 29 October 1985 (age 34)
Place of birthGlasgow, Scotland
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight96 kg (15 st 2 lb) [1]
SchoolStonyhurst College
UniversityCambridge University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Youth career
2003–2007 Northampton Saints
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Northampton Saints
London Irish


Correct as of 4 November 2009
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010–2013 Scotland 11 (15)
Correct as of 15 May 2013

Early yearsEdit

Ansbro was born in Glasgow and raised near Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland.[2] He was educated at Gatehouse Primary School and played youth rugby with Stewartry, the Castle Douglas club. He was also educated at Stonyhurst College near Clitheroe in Lancashire, North West England, before embarking on study of a Natural Sciences degree at Robinson College, Cambridge. [5][6]


Ansbro joined the Northampton Academy in 2006, during this time he was part of the Cambridge University side that took part in The Varsity Match, producing some quality displays for the University. Northampton Saints took notice of this and he became a regular in the number 13 shirt during their season in National Division One, he also scored in the EDF Energy Trophy final.

London IrishEdit

Ansbro joined London Irish in 2011 on a three-year deal.[4] The Scotland centre was one of numerous international players to join the club in 2011. London Irish head coach Toby Booth said: "He's quick, powerful with a great future ahead and will fit in nicely." Ansbro commented that "there are some great players who have committed their long term futures to the club and that speaks volumes for what is happening there." [7]


Ansbro made his international debut for Scotland A during the 2009 IRB Nations Cup tournament in Romania .Scotland A eventually went on to win the tournament, with Ansbro making his debut as outside centre in the win against Uruguay.[6] He made his first senior Scotland appearance in the 21–17 victory over reigning world champions South Africa in doing so he became the first black player to represent Scotland at test level.[8] A week later he played in the 19–16 win against Samoa at Pittodrie in Aberdeen.[9]

Ansbro made his 6 nations appearance in Scotland's opening match of the 2011 Six Nations Championship against France in Paris. Ansbro and the rest of the Scotland team put in an impressive performance against a clinical French side despite eventually losing the match 34–21.

His first points for Scotland came in the 10–6 victory in a 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Ireland[10] where he scored the winning try in the 76th minute. Ansbro was included in Scotland's 30 man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. He went on to score his first RWC try against Romania in Scotland's first group game of the 2011 tournament.[11] The number 13 jersey in the next two games was taken by Nick de Luca before Ansbro was again selected, this time in Scotland's final group game versus England.[12]


Ansbro broke his neck in a pre-season friendly against Munster on 24 August 2012.[13] After being taken to hospital straight after the match it was discovered that Ansbro had a triple fracture of the C1 vertebrae.[14] As of 15 May 2013 Ansbro officially retired from rugby union.[15]


Ansbro, having graduated from Cambridge before his professional career is to become a Biology teacher and rugby coach at Harrow School, a leading boys' independent school.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Aviva Premiership Rugby - London Irish". web page. Premier Rugby. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b Late Scotland call-up for Joe Ansbro
  3. ^ Alfred Clunies-Ross qualifies as the first non-white player, being half-Malay.
  4. ^ a b "Saints centre Ansbro joins Irish". BBC News. 3 February 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Joe Ansbro" on the Scotland Rugby Team website
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 August 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Moffat, Colin (20 November 2010). "Scotland 21-17 South Africa". BBC News.
  9. ^ Murray, Keir (27 November 2010). "Scotland 19-16 Samoa". BBC News.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Scotland 34-24 Romania". BBC News.
  12. ^ Henson, Mike (1 October 2011). "England v Scotland - as it happened". BBC News.
  13. ^ Webster, Geoff (27 August 2012). "Scotland centre Joe Ansbro suffers broken neck". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Joe Ansbro: Brian Smith hopeful of centre's recovery". BBC Sport. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Scotland's Joe Ansbro forced to retire from rugby". BBC Sport. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.

External linksEdit