Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Rob hales from one of South Africa’s oldest and well-known schools SACS (South Africa College Schools), at the age of ten he started playing rugby, although water polo remained his main sport until leaving school.
The South African native enjoyed a brief stint with London Irish before returning to his homeland. He joined the London Irish Academy in 2009 and made his senior debut against Northampton in May 2010.
Rob qualifies for Ireland through his grandfather on his mother’s side, who hailed from Belfast and he arrived at Ulster Rugby in June 2012 from Western Province, where he was involved in their Vodacom Cup squad.
Rob made his Ulster Rugby debut against Glasgow Warriors in August 2012. His potential was quickly identified as evidenced by the fact that he played in 19 games during the first season with the Irish Province.
His Irish development pathway was started when Rob was included in the Irish Wolfhounds Tbilissi Cup squad in 2012-2013, and he played against Georgia, South Africa and Uruguay.
Joe Schmidt’s included Rob in Ireland’s Summer Tour to Argentina and he won his first senior Test cap against the Pumas in June 2014.
In June 2015 Rob was again selected for the Irish Wolfhounds victorious Tbilissi Cup campaign, playing against Georgia, Italy and Uruguay.
In August 2016, after a four-year stint with Ulster, Rob was named the club’s captain alongside Andrew Trimble for the 2016-2017 season and was named in Joe Schmidt’s 2017 November Series squad for Tests against Australia, Fiji and Argentina.
As of November 2017, the South African-born hooker had made 129 appearances for Ulster and captained the side on numerous occasions during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. He earned two more Irish Test caps in November 2017, making a try-scoring contribution in the historic 38-3 win over South Africa.
Rob missed out on selection for the 2019 Rugby World Cup but was dramatically flown to Japan as a replacement in the later stages of the tournament. He returned to the Irish squad ahead of the 2020 Six Nations and was a regular starter in 2020.
In 2021 Rob continues to be a familiar presence in the Ireland set-up, and he signed a contract extension in January 2021 that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. At the signing of his new deal in January 2021, Rob had gained 190 caps for Ulster scoring 21 tries, had represented Ireland on 19 occasions and was included in Ireland’s 2021 Six Nations squad.
Rob and his wide Nicola have opened a bespoke coffee shop in Belfast - Five Percent Cafe
A proud Dad, Rob is married to Nicola and loves spending quality family time when he can.
Rob has captained Ulster on numerous occasions is a very respected member of the squad.
Ulster Rugby debut vs Glasgow
Irish Wolfhounds Tbilissi Cup
Ireland Summer tour to Argentina
Ireland debut vs Argentina
Irish Wolfhounds Tbilissi Cup
Appointed Ulster Captain
Ireland Summer tour to Australia
Here are the brands Rob is currently working with...