Into his second stint as an assistant-coach of the Qantas Wallabies, Andrew Blades was capped on 32 occasions by Australia after making his Test debut against Scotland at Edinburgh in 1996. His Test debut had been four years in the making after he first appeared for Australia on the 1992 tours of South Africa and the United Kingdom.
A product of the Gordon club in Sydney’s north, Blades was educated at Killara High School and came up through the grades, appearing for the Australian Schoolboys, Under-17 and Under-21 teams, before he made his debut for New South Wales against Canterbury in the then Super Six championship in 1992. Blades went on to make 47 appearances for the Waratahs through until his last season in 1999, with that career split by a one season stint with Queensland in 1995 where he featured in their Super 10-winning side. Between 1996 and his Test career swansong at the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Blades featured in Australian teams which won and then successfully defended the Bledisloe Cup (1998 & 1999), before ending as part of the team which lifted the Rugby World Cup for the second time, at just the fourth edition of tournament, in Wales in 1999.
Blades moved into coaching soon after his retirement, assisting Eddie Jones and then David Nucifora during his time on the Brumbies coaching staff. Following this he had two seasons in the Northern Hemisphere from 2002-04 where he was forwards coach for the Newcastle Falcons in England’s club Premiership. He returned to Australia take up a coaching position with the Wallabies in 2004. Blades subsequently worked for the NSW Rugby Union before returning to the ARU this year, firstly as a resource coach for the national academy programme, before taking up his posting with the Wallabies.