Rob Thirlby

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Rob Thirlby
Birth nameRobert Graham Thirlby
Date of birth (1979-03-02) 2 March 1979 (age 41)
Place of birthRedruth, Cornwall
Height6ft 1in (1.85m)
Weight202 lb (91.6 kg)
SchoolRichard Lander School
Notable relative(s)Chris Garland (father-in-law)
SpouseJess Thirlby
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fullback/Wing
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Penzance & Newlyn
Bath Rugby
Penzance & Newlyn
Gloucester Rugby




National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps

Rob Graham Thirlby (born 2 March 1979) is an English rugby union player who plays on the wing or full back for Yatton whilst also acting as the video analyst for Gloucester Rugby.[1] He previously played for Moseley, Penzance-Newlyn, and for Redruth whom he joined from Gloucester Rugby. He played regularly for the England Sevens team.

Early life[edit]

Thirlby was born in Penzance, Cornwall, England, and educated at Richard Lander School.

Club career[edit]

Thirlby began his career with Redruth before guesting for Penzance & Newlyn in the 1998 Safari Sevens tournament in Kenya where he was spotted by Kyran Bracken[2] who recommended him to Saracens and Thirlby joined the club ahead of the 1998–1999 season. He made his Sarries debut in an Anglo-Welsh clash with Cardiff on 16 January 1999, kicking 11 points in a 36–22 victory.[3] He made his Premiership debut against Northampton Saints on 6 February 1999 and went on to make 28 appearances for the club in the competition, scoring six tries.

Thirlby left Saracens to join Bath Rugby in May 2000.[4][5][6] He played 36 times for Bath in the Premiership scoring eight tries, the highlight being the hat-trick of tries he scored against Rotherham on 14 April 2001,[7] before joining Rotherham in February 2003.[8] He helped the club secure promotion from National Division One back into the Premiership before returning to Cornwall and Penzance & Newlyn for the 2003–2004 season.

After two seasons with Penzance & Newlyn, Thirlby returned to the Premiership by signing a two-year contract with Gloucester Rugby.[9] After just ten Premiership appearances and a solitary try, Thirlby joined Redruth on loan in January 2007, agreeing a two-year contract with the club in March 2007.


Thirlby was a regular member of the England Sevens team. He represented the team in both the RWC Sevens 2001 and RWC Sevens 2005, the only England player to do so,[10] and was a member of Joe Lydon's twelve-man squad for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.[11] Although the team returned without medals, they did win the Sevens Plate in the tournament.[12] He made 35 appearances in the IRB Sevens World Series, at the time the third-highest total by an England player, which has since been surpassed several times.[13]

Thirlby received a call up for England's 2000 tour of South Africa,[14] and although he did not appear in the test side, he played in the three tour matches, scoring a try in the 36–27 victory over Gauteng Falcons.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Thirlby is married to Jess Garland, a former England netball international. In 2019 she was appointed head coach of the England national netball team. Like her future husband, Garland also represented England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. They have two children. Thirlby also has a child from a previous relationship. His father-in-law is Chris Garland, a former professional footballer. [16]


  1. ^ "Debutant Thirlby adds class as Yatton grind out victory". Bristol Evening Post. 21 September 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  2. ^ Malin, Ian (15 November 2003). "Ambitious Pirates are no Cornish patsies". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  3. ^ Llewellyn, David (18 January 1999). "Saracens Youngsters Reveal Their Potential". The Independent. London. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Bath Sign Rob Thirlby". Bath Rugby Official Website. 22 May 2000. Retrieved 27 January 2009.[dead link]
  5. ^ "England's new boys: Backs". BBC Sport. 23 May 2000. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  6. ^ "England made to dig deep". BBC Sport. 28 June 2000. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Bath Bury Rotherham". BBC Sport. 14 April 2001. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Rob Joins Rotherham". Bath Rugby Official Website. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 27 January 2009.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Gloucester Seal Thirlby Contract". Gloucester Rugby Official Website. 17 June 2005. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Rob Thirlby 2005 RWC Sevens Profile". Rugby Football Union Official Website. Archived from the original on 14 March 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Rob Confirmed in England Sevens Squad". Bath Rugby Official Website. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 27 January 2009.[dead link]
  12. ^ "No Medal For Thirlby, But England Lift Games Plate". Bath Rugby Official Website. 5 August 2002. Retrieved 27 January 2009.[dead link]
  13. ^ "IRB Sevens World Series - Top 50 Appearances" (PDF). International Rugby Board Official Website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  14. ^ "England's new boys: Backs". BBC Sport. 23 May 2000. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  15. ^ "England made to dig deep". BBC Sport. 28 June 2000. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  16. ^ "Exclusive interview: England Netball head coach Jess Thirlby on replacing Tracey Neville and why chocolate will be key to a happy household". 17 August 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2020.

External links[edit]