Andrew Jacob Leeds
- 658Wallaby Number
Andrew Leeds was a safe and reliable fullback who had exceptional hands and superb anticipation. He was also an outstanding goal-kicker and he had the ability to join the attacking line at precisely the right angle. A self-described late bloomer Leeds shot to prominence during the glory days of the Parramatta club in the mid-1980s.
Leeds was educated at Sydney’s James Ruse Agricultural High School where he played in the 2nd XV. After school he joined the Two Blues where he was part of the Colts’ team that won the 1984 premiership and a year later the First Grade side that took out the Shute Shield.
In 1985 Leeds consistently good form was rewarded with representation for Sydney against Country and then a debut for New South Wales against Fiji. A strong interstate series saw him called into the Wallaby squad however he did not play in any of the Tests.
When Roger Gould withdrew from the 1986 Australian tour of New Zealand, Leeds was selected as one of two fullbacks alongside Glen Ella. Leeds’ coolly efficient form in the mid-week games impressed coach Alan Jones to the point that the great David Campese was moved to the wing and Leeds brought in for his debut in the series deciding third Test in Auckland. Leeds scored a try that day and the Wallabies won 22-9 to secure the Bledisloe Cup on New Zealand soil for just the second time in history.
In 1988 Leeds played in all eight Tests however after he returned from the end-of-season tour to the U.K. and Europe he switched codes and signed a three-year deal to play rugby league with the Parramatta Eels.
Andrew Leeds played 14 Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Leeds won his first Test cap as the starting fullback in the 3rd Test, 22-9 Bledisloe Cup-winning Test against New Zealand in Auckland. He scored a try in that match to become the 61st Wallaby to score a try on debut.
He won selection to his first Rugby World Cup where he would earn two caps at No.15, in the pool game against the U.S.A. in Brisbane and in the third place playoff with Wales at Rotorua. Leeds retained his spot for the one-off Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney and the two Argentine Tests on the tour to South America.
In his final season of international rugby Leeds played in all eight Wallaby internationals, England at home (2), New Zealand (3), England away (1), Scotland (1) and Italy (1).