Andrew Stanley was a skilled, forceful back-row forward, whose career happened to coincide with that of Ian Smith, the open-side Scottish international and club captain. As a result, although Andrew’s career spanned 13 years and although he was always worth a first team place, he never played in more than 17 games in any one season. He became an inspirational captain of the United XV, and after his playing career ended developed a career in coaching.
He was born on 15 September 1965. His rugby career started with Gordon League, the club that has nurtured so much local talent, and then he had a spell with Sunnybank, in Brisbane, Australia. Andrew’s first appearance for Gloucester was on 14 December 1985 against Cornish club, Launceston. He scored his first try early in the following season on 17 September 1986 against Glamorgan Wanderers. Gloucester won the game 34-13, with further tries scored by Jim Breeze (2), Nick Price, Kevin Dunn, and Richard Williams. Nick Marment kicked three conversions.
Andrew’s preferred position was No.7, but with Ian Smith firmly established, it meant that Stanley, in effect, only played when Smith could not. This is reflected in his appearances in each season from 1987 to 1991, when he played in 14,15, 9, and 17 games. Andrew captained the United XV from 1991-94, 1995-96 and 1997-98. During 1991-94 he led the team to a hat-trick of title wins in the Midlands and West Merit Table for second fifteens. Over that period the United won 89 games and lost only six!
Although captain of the United, Andrew was still being called upon to appear for the first fifteen in the absence of Ian Smith, who was by now club captain. Indeed, during the 1991-92 season he stepped up to captain the team on several occasions, including Courage League games against Wasps and London Irish. He also led the Cherry and Whites to a crushing 42-4 win over Newport, a game in which Simon Morris scored three tries.
At the end of the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, Kingsholm hosted the National Tens tournaments, and Andrew captained the Gloucester team on both occasions. In 1993, Gloucester defeated West Hartlepool, Wakefield and Wasps on their way to the final against Harlequins. Gloucester romped to a 29-0 victory and Andrew was presented with the Tens Shield. In 1994, Newcastle Gosforth, Northampton and Wasps were seen off to set up another appearance in the final, but this was lost 5-26 to Bristol.
When he was United captain in 1995-96, the Firsts were glad of his services late in the season when Gloucester were in dire danger of being relegated. Andrew was in the team that played Bath at Kingsholm under floodlights on a Wednesday evening in April. The Gloucester team, under Director of Rugby, Richard Hill, ravaged by injury, took on their old rivals (who would win the league title), apparently without much hope. The Gloucester team played out of their skins to win 16-10. By the last league contest, Gloucester were faced with a straight relegation shoot-out with Saracens, again at Kingsholm. The Cherry and Whites triumphed 17-10, and the Times wrote, “Stanley’s form had persuaded Richard Hill to omit Ian Smith, the Scotland flanker, a brave decision, but the move was justified by Stanley’s tireless foraging”.
In the 1996-97 season, Ian Smith was absent for long periods due to injury and Stanley made ten appearances in league games. Andrew was United captain again in 1997-98, which proved to be his last season. He played his final game for the first fifteen on 20 February 1998 against Richmond. Andrew had made 146 appearances and scored 25 tries. For the United he appeared nearly 200 times and scored well over 50 tries. He captained and scored a try for Gloucestershire, when the County won the Championship final against Warwickshire in April 1996.
Andrew was Director of Rugby at Hartpury College for three seasons (2002-05), before moving on to coach at Worcester for seven years. From 2012-14 He was Gloucester’s Senior Academy Manager, and later forwards’ coach. In September 2014 he took up the post of Director of Rugby at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, and for the 2017-18 season was head coach of the Gloucestershire Under 16 team. He has also acted as a consultant coach for Cinderford.