Rob Saunders: Ireland 12 caps
Rob Saunders was one of the most talented players that the Academy has produced. He was an outstanding performer at School and played for three years on the 1st XV, the final one as captain in 1986-87. He played on the Ulster Schools’ team for two years, captaining the side when the Inter-Provincial Championship was won in 1986-87. In 1987 he played for Ireland Schools and also played on the Ireland Schools’ team that toured Australia in the same year.
Rob went to Queen’s University and had a very successful period at that club. He was captain of the club in the 1989-90 season, played for Ulster Under 21 and captained the Ireland Under 21 side. In 1990 he joined London Irish and from that club made his debut for Ulster in January 1991.
Following his debut for Ulster Rob made nothing less than dramatic progress in representative rugby. One month after his first appearance for Ulster Rob made his debut for Ireland in February 1991 against France at Lansdowne Road, amazingly as captain. Other than in Ireland’s first international match, this is probably the only occasion that a player has made his debut for Ireland as captain. Rob went on to play in the 1991 World Cup and played in 12 international matches.