Former Australia and Queensland Reds centre Tim Horan has to be one of the modern greats of Rugby Union, and certainly one of the first legends of the professional era. Horan was a complete player in the centre, both in attack and defence, which always made him a formidable opponent for his opposite number knowing that it was going to be difficult to get past him and difficult to stop him. As an attacking threat Horan had nimble feet and could change direction in an instant but he was equally as good at being a playmaker and creating space for others to make a break.
Where Did It All Begin?
He was born Timothy James Horan on 18 May 1970 in Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales although was raised in Toowoomba, Queensland. Would you believe that initially Tim began his rugby career playing rugby league for his local club in Toowoomba and wasn’t introduced to the Rugby Union code until he went to Downlands Grammar school aged 12. Horan played an important role as a member of a successful Downlands Grammar 1st XV team that went unbeaten in 1987 and who were coached by former England coach John Elders. He also represented Australia at schoolboy level before winning his first cap in 1989 against the All Blacks aged just 19 without having ever played senior representative rugby for Queensland.
A young Tim Horan along with Jason Little and John Eales went on to win the Rugby World Cup in 1991 defeating England in the final at Twickenham. These were the only three surviving members from the 1991 squad that went on the lift the trophy again in 1999 as Australia defeated France at the Millennium Stadium in Wales and in doing so became the first ever nation to win the competition twice. Eales captained the side throughout the 1999 Rugby World Cup and Horan was named player of the tournament. Horan finished his international career with Australia in 2000 with his 80th test cap against Argentina and in total scored 30 international tries.
Away from the International Arena
You cannot forget the contribution Horan made to Queensland, in total earning 285 caps, many of which were in the Super 12 competition (now Super 14 and soon to be Super 15!). Horan’s points tally for the Queensland was 285.
Following Horan’s international retirement in 2000 he headed almost immediately for England where he spent three seasons with London club Saracens lighting up the English Premiership. Last year Tim Horan accepted the invitation from the Australian Rugby Union to serve as a Classic Wallabies Statesman. Each year the ARU invites 7 Classic Wallabies who have made indelible impressions on Australian Rugby to serve. In the same year Horan was also made a Member of the Order of Australia, which is a great accolade for any Australian to achieve and shows that his country recognises him for the great contributions he has made both to Rugby and to Australia.
Watching Tim Horan when I was a young rugby player, I do not think I will ever forget seeing him beat the opposition in midfield and has to be up there with the all time greats of the game, a true rugby legend.