Rugby Union: Andrew flies to Wasps

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The Independent Online
ROB ANDREW, the England stand-off who it was announced yesterday will be rejoining Wasps less than a year after he moved to France to play for Toulouse, could avoid qualification rules and step straight back into league action with the Courage leaders when he returns to London next month.

It was only at the beginning of last month that the Rugby Football Union introduced stern measures aimed at curtailing the movement of players and under these Andrew would have been liable to wait 120 days before resuming his career in the First Division.

Now, though, he could be facing London Scottish in the league at Sudbury less than 20 days after his arrival on 2 November. Dudley Wood, the RFU's secretary, said last night: 'The new rules have been described as Draconian in some quarters and a working party has been set up to look into cases like this. Changes may be required, though to put things in perspective, of the 80,000 players registered by clubs so far there have been only 10 hard-luck stories.'

In Andrew's favour is the fact that he was seconded to the French operation associated with the international property advisers, Debenham Tewson, and Chinnocks, Wasps' sponsors, and he is returning to the London office as an associate director.

Andrew, who has played seven matches this season in France, said: 'My reasons for returning to London are business orientated and to requalify for 120 days would be the down side of returning.' However, he is not short of support in hoping for a rapid reintroduction to competitive play.

John Jeavons-Fellows, the chairman of the RFU competitions committee, said: 'The rules are a minefield and we have a figure of national import here. But my impression is that he can play straight away. He is English with a British passport. But we still have to check the rules for the league.'

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