Alan played in just one match of the 1975 season, a 12-9 loss to Ireland in Dublin, but was selected for England's tour to Australia in the summer. Rookie Neil Bennett was preferred in the first test defeat in Sydney, but the Bedford player suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Cambridge University student Andrew Wordsworth in what proved his only appearance for England. The experienced Old was called up for the second test in Brisbane and helped keep his side in touch with three penalties and two conversions, but England eventually went down 30-21. The following year Alan played in tests against Scotland and Ireland, but both matches were lost as England headed for their second whitewash in five seasons. He was destined to play only once more for England in a 15-6 defeat by France in Paris in 1978, signing off with a pair of drop goals (something his replacement John Horton would achieve at the same venue in 1980).
The following year Alan played superbly in partnership with Steve Smith for the North in their 21-9 victory over the All Blacks at Otley. Both men scored tries and were seen as the ideal half back partnership for the forthcoming test between England and New Zealand at Twickenham. However, the selectors instead decided to use Les Cusworth in the fly half role and his game was unsuited to the style of play favoured by Smith, with England eventually losing 10-9. Alan did make it to the bench during the 1980 Five Nations Championship, but did not play any tests. Interestingly, while Alan was playing international rugby, his own brother, Chris Old (see elsewhere on this site), was representing England at cricket. Alan himself was a decent cricketer and played a handful of matches for Warwickshire, taking one first class wicket. The two also had the distinction of representing their country on the same day, February 2nd 1974, Alan against Scotland at Murrayfield, Chris against the West Indies in the Caribbean. (Jon Collins)