Andy Ripley passes away

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by Teh Mite, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Teh Mite

    Teh Mite TRF Legend

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    Former England and Lions Back Row dies, age 62


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    Former England international Andy Ripley has died from prostate cancer at the age of 62.
    Back row forward Ripley won 24 caps for England in the 1970s and was part of the successful British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1974.
    An all-round athlete, and a qualified yachtsman, he won the BBC's Superstars television series in 1980.
    Ripley recently received an OBE for services to sport in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
    The award was announced on 12 June, but Ripley collected it last month because his illness was so advanced.
    Remarkably Ripley did not start playing rugby until he was 19 years-old, spending his entire career at Rosslyn Park, before retiring at 41.
    In 2007 Ripley was interviewed by the BBC News website for an item about celebrities' health problems, when he discussed being diagnosed in East Surrey Hospital in 2005.
    "One of the nurses did a PSA test and the results came back that my levels were 133," said Ripley. "I remember saying 'Is that good? and she said 'no'."
    "I had a biopsy and was told it was locally advanced prostate cancer."
    Ripley recovered enough that in 2007 he wrote a book and became an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Charity.
    In the foreword to his book he wrote: "Dare we hope? We dare. Can we hope? We can. Should we hope? We must.
    "We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts, given so freely by God to all of us. So when we do die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken."
    The cancer returned and finally claimed his life on Thursday.
    "Andy Ripley was an incredible man," said John Neate, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity.
    "He had a huge heart and his generosity and kindness knew no bounds. His work as a Prostate Cancer Charity ambassador was immeasurable.
    "Andy's personality and humour touched the hearts of everyone he met, who heard him speak and who read his words.
    "He will never be forgotten and his unstinting support for this charity has undoubtedly saved the lives of men across the UK."
    Ripley, who was an accountant by profession, is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three children.
     
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  3. Teh Mite

    Teh Mite TRF Legend

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/sport-obituaries/7835829/Andy-Ripley.html

    Described variously as “rugby’s first hippie”, “the original Crazy Horse” and (in a tribute that was perhaps just a little extravagant) “a man with a brain like Einstein and a pen like Shakespeare... who might have doubled for Steve McQueen”, he excelled not only at rugby, but also at rowing, athletics, swimming and sailing

    He also made a small fortune in the City and won the BBC Superstars contest in 1980. At the age of 50 he gained an M Phil at Cambridge University and just missed out on a place in the Boat Race crew.

    A gangling 6ft 5in tall, with flowing locks streaming out of a headband, knees pumping almost up his chest and the ball under his arm, “Ripley in full flight”, as one observer put it, “will remain forever an image to brighten the day.” Another wrote: “He played with the studied nonchalance of a Harlem Globetrotter warming up.”
    Ripley won 24 caps for England at number eight between 1972 and 1976. The Seventies were a low period for English rugby, with Wales and France in the ascendant, and he lost his first six Five Nations matches. England then had surprising victories over South Africa and the All Blacks, in both of which Ripley played a prominent part, and in 1974 he scored the winning try in England’s first victory against Wales at Twickenham since 1960.
    Later that year he toured with the British Lions to South Africa, where they were unbeaten in 22 matches and won the Test series 3-0. Ripley was, however, shouldered out of the Test side by Mervyn (“Merv the Swerve”) Davies, of Wales, who had great admiration for his English rival and described him as “the best — certainly the most awkward” number eight he had ever played against.
    This was no consolation for Ripley. Asked 36 years later how disappointed he had felt about missing out on the Lions Test place, he replied: “Disappointed? Into devastation and beyond that.”
    He was also an accomplished seven-a-side player and represented England in 1973, once running the length of the field to score a try.
    In 1976 he lost his England place, “being jettisoned at his peak”, according to the official history of the Rugby Football Union. In fact he was unlucky to face unusually brilliant competition in his position, for in addition to Davies he had competition at home from Roger Uttley, who went on to captain the England side and star with the Lions. Ripley had revenge of a sort on Uttley many years later when he beat him to the world veterans’ indoor rowing championship in 1992.
    Ripley was also a champion triathlete and reached the semi-finals of the 400 metres in the Amateur Athletic Association championship in 1978. He was a qualified canoe instructor and skilled at basketball, tennis and water-skiing. He was perhaps the last in a great English tradition of all-round amateur sportsmen going back to CB Fry — a tradition ended by the specialised disciplines of professional sport.
    Although rugby union did not go professional until 1995, six years after Ripley had retired, he lived in the twilight era of “shamateurism”, when players were rewarded in secret. On one occasion the whole England team were persuaded to wear a sponsor’s boot in return for £50 a man — a transaction of which the RFU was wholly unaware. Ripley once found himself with two boot sponsors to please — a problem he resolved by wearing a different boot on each foot.
    Andrew George Ripley was born in Liverpool on December 1 1947 and educated at Greenway comprehensive school in Bristol and the University of East Anglia. He started playing rugby only at university at the age of 19, having been at a school that favoured association football. He spent his whole rugby career at Rosslyn Park, playing until he was 41.
    When he retired in 1989 he was elected club president, turning up for the annual dinner on his Triumph motorbike in jeans and a T-shirt proclaiming: “I ate before I came.” He had a thing about T-shirts, sporting one on a Lions tour reading: “I’m so perfect it scares me.”
    He became deputy general manager of the United Bank of Kuwait, where he took pleasure in arriving for work by bicycle or motorbike wearing a bowler hat and carrying a rolled umbrella. A chartered accountant himself, he also ran a company called Dart for training accountants and another, Incredibly Fit Co, for marketing rugby gear. He was a director of Esprit health clubs in London.
    In addition to his many other talents, Ripley was a fluent linguist and worked as a rugby commentator for French television. He did much work for charities, including the Sport Aid Foundation, the Bristol Sporting Association for the Disabled and the Aston Charity Trust for Homeless People.
    His reputation as a world-class athlete was such that newspaper pictures of him in May, receiving an OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, blind, shrunken and seated in a wheelchair, caused a great shock in the sporting world and among his many admirers. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005.
    By 2007 he had apparently made such a good recovery that he published his diary, the subtitle of which was The Rugby Icon’s Ultimate Victory Over Cancer. But the disease returned in 2008 and early this year reached his skull and affected the optic nerves. He became a roving ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Charity, for whom his eccentric, stream-of-consciousness patter made him a hugely popular speaker.
    In the foreword to his book on cancer he wrote: “Dare we hope? We dare. Can we hope? We can. Should we hope? We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts, given so freely by God to all of us. So when we do die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken.”
    He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and three children.
     
  4. TRF_Saints

    TRF_Saints Straight Edge

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    Very sad news. God bless.
     
  5. cyRil

    cyRil Senior Member

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    That quote at the end is amazing. I'd never heard of this guy before but he sounds like he was a brilliant man and will be missed by everyone who knew him.
     
  6. TRF_SelimNiai

    TRF_SelimNiai 'Ark at ee mun!

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    Sad news, thoughts to yhis family at this time
     
  7. GazzaJAnimal

    GazzaJAnimal Member

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    A great man, a loss to the world. A man who was a credit to the game of rugby union.
     
  8. lucky number 7

    lucky number 7 Senior Member

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    my auld lad loved him very sad to hea of his passing
     
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