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'You haven't moved your legs yet' - Rob Horne opens up on his life-changing injury

By Tom Parker
Rob Horne of Northampton Saints

It has been just over three months since Northampton Saints centre Rob Horne suffered a life-changing injury against Leicester Tigers.


The Australian international centre was forced to retire from rugby after sustaining the career ending injury playing in his side’s victory over Tigers at Welford Road on April 14th.

The 28-year-old opened up for the first time about the incident on Saints TV, going into particular detail about the moment he realised that his injury was serious:

“I was pretty adamant, ‘get off me, let me get up, I’m fine’, I pretty much said ‘I’m pretty embarrassed here, I don’t need any help’. Then when I was telling [forwards coach] Phil Dowson, who was with me at the time, he was saying ‘it’s okay, don’t worry, just stay down’ and I said ‘no, I need to get up, my family are here, I don’t want to show that I’m hurt’.”

Horne commented on how he rarely takes the advice of the medical staff in most games. However, it quickly became clear that this was not the sort of injury that the Northampton centre could simply walk off:

“And then Matt Lee, who was securing my head and neck, said ‘Rob, you haven’t moved your legs yet’ and that’s when I went, ‘I haven’t’ and I was just kicking and kicking and kicking and I got my right leg moving. And then from there I thought ‘okay maybe I should listen to the medicos, probably for the first time in my career.”

The collision resulted in Horne suffering from an avulsion of his brachial plexus. This left him paralysed in his right arm and he is also suffering from chronic pain. The Wallaby star had only recently moved to England after having played 34 tests for the men in gold. It appeared that he was destined for a successful spell in Northampton after enjoying several man of the match performances for the Saints. Horne pulled on the Black, Green and Gold jersey 21 times last season – scoring eight tries as a Saint and being named the club’s player of the season in the process.

“Everyone at the club has gone above and beyond to support me and my family through an incredibly difficult time,” he said.

It appears that there are still many raw emotions in this interview that Saints TV filmed with him this week.


Round six of the Gallagher Premiership will see Northampton take on the Tigers at Twickenham in aid of the former Saint Rob Horne. This will be the first time the two rivals have met at Twickenham since the 2013 Premiership Final. The Rugby Football Union approached Saints to host a home match at Twickenham earlier this summer so they could test their new East Stand development ahead of the 2018 Quilter Internationals.

Rob Horne will be returning to the UK to attend the fixture in October and deliver the match ball after moving home to Australia with his family last week.

When asked about life after rugby, it was evident that difficult decisions had been made over the past few months. “It’s a really difficult decision because we’ve certainly made our home here in Northampton and we’re part of the community. Our youngest was eight weeks when we arrived and now he’s almost one, so he’s spent pretty much his whole life here. Northampton is always going to be a part of us but the decision came that it was probably time to head back,” he said.

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