Andrew John McIntyre
- 627Wallaby Number
Andy McIntyre became Australia’s premier tighthead prop on the back of his sheer strength combined with an exceptional work ethic. Thickset but no giant, McIntyre was a man of action rather than words, who toiled in the engine room without ostentation. He was an unsung hero, one of the quiet achievers, in several of Australia’s greatest victories in the mid-1980s. Mark Ella said that the forwards won Australia the Grand Slam, and without Mac and Topo (Rodriguez), the Wallabies wouldn’t have won the ball.
Born at Toowoomba, McIntyre played rugby league before he was sent away to board at Brisbane Grammar School. It did not take him long to switch his allegiance to rugby union and he found himself in the 13Fs as a second row forward. McIntyre gravitated to breakaway by the time he reached the 15As and then made the premiership winning 1st XV under the tutelage of Brian Short and uncapped Wallaby Alec Evans who provided McIntyre with the foundation in skills that lasted him throughout his career.
After school he began to fill out and moved into the front row but was almost lost to rugby before Wallabies Bill Ross and Bruce Brown convinced him to adopt a serious attitude to training with the University of Queensland. His initial breakthrough came in 1980 when he was selected for the Queensland tour of New Zealand and made his debut against Thames Valley.
Two years later, and with ten Wallabies, including Tony D’Arcy and Stan Pilecki unavailable for the Wallaby tour New Zealand, McIntyre won selection, went on to make his Test debut in Christchurch and quickly became a near-permanent fixture in the Australian front row. When Alan Jones took over as coach in 1984 he wanted a front three of strength and power as the platform for the scrum. Fortunately Jones had that in spades with the combination of McIntyre, Tom Lawton and Enrique Rodriguez.
The ‘Grand Slam’ was a remarkable feat, unparalleled in Australian rugby history however the pushover try against Wales - with Jones’ favoured front row leading the charge - was something special again. In 1989 there was a changing of the guard when McIntyre was joined by Phil Kearns and Tony Daly for the one-off Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland. A year later Ewen McKenzie debuted and a new chapter of Australian rugby history was set to be written. Andy McIntyre played 38 Tests for Australia in a seven-year international career.
McIntyre won his first Test cap at tighthead prop alongside Bruce Malouf and John Coolican in the 1st Test, 16-23 loss to New Zealand at Lancaster Park. He retained his spot for the final two Tests where he partnered Lance Walker and John Meadows.
He was not selected for the domestic Tests as the selectors went with Stan Pilecki and Declan Curran however he won caps in the two Tests against France on the end-of-season tour
McIntyre, Lawton and Rodriguez were the starting front row in all eight Wallaby Tests.
He played in the opening four Tests of the year, again in partnership with Lawton and Rodriguez, before he was joined by Mark McBain and Cameron Lillicrap for the 2nd Test against Fiji in Sydney. He scored his first Test try in the 31-9 defeat of Fiji at the S.C.G.
McIntyre, Lawton and Rodriguez packed down in each of the four domestic Tests but he did not tour New Zealand because of work commitments.
He won selection to his first Rugby World Cup and played in five matches, including the semi-final loss to France. McIntyre also played in the one-off Bledisloe Cup loss in Sydney and the 2nd Test of the away series against Argentina.
McIntyre was capped in all eight Wallaby internationals with Lawton as his hooker. Three loosehead props were chosen throughout the year - Rob Lawton (3), Peter Kay (1) and Mark Hartill (4).
In his final season of international rugby McIntyre earned a single cap in the 12-24, one-off Bledisloe Cup Test loss in Auckland.