Andrew Brace has revealed former captains Rory Best and Sam Warburton have been his two favourite players to referee during his career so far.
We spoke to Andrew or Bracey as he’s known to many in the sport, to find out what makes him tick for The Whistle section of our website in association with ACME Whistles.
Name: Andrew Brace
Hometown: I live in Limerick, I’ve been here for the last 10 years, but my family are based in Wales in Cardiff. I was only meant to be here for a year, but one year led to another and 10 years later they can’t get rid of me!
First memory of Rugby: I played a bit of rugby at primary school, but was quite late when I started playing at a club, probably about 13 years old. My first, and funniest, memory when I was in primary school was one of my first games, and we needed to score to win the game. The ball came to me on the wing, it was probably my only touch of the game, before sprinting down the wing for the winning score. I dived over the line, hand in the air celebrating only to realise it was the 22, not the try line. Hilarious now looking back, but at the time I don’t think my mates were laughing!
t international as a ref: England v Barbarians match was my first test but it wasn’t a capped International as they’re not capped games, so my first full International was out in Calgary in 2017 with Georgia against Canada. I will never forget it. We arrived the day before to about 28 degrees, a lovely day in Calgary, but the next day the temperature went through the floor with wind chill in the minuses! It was that cold that one of the players had to go to hospital with hypothermia and we had to have a hot shower at half time just to warm up. My first Tier one International was the following year – Argentina v Wales.
FAVOURITE PLAYERS TO REFEREE:
Brace said: “Who is the best player you’ve refereed? There are so many great players out there, but I would have to say a Rory Best or Sam Warburton would be up there. Two great players who would leave it all out there but really forced you to make decisions as a referee, particularly when jackling for a turnover – they were both relentless as they competed at every opportunity so every breakdown a decision would have to be made.”Embed from Getty Images