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Past Players

 

2001 Australian Wallabies squad - British & Irish Lions Tour

 

CHRIS LATHAM
Position: Fullback
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 99 kg
Date of Birth: 8.9.75
Nickname: Latho
Club: Wests
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1998 v Otago (QLD), 1997 v Samoa B (NSW)
Tests: 16
Test Points: 50 [10t]

Test Debut:

1998 v France

After a quiet start to this year’s Vodafone Super 12, Chris Latham has used all his trademark skills to great effect in the second half of the competition.

He is a complete fullback with dazzling pace, a superb kicking game and solid defence. He and Matt Burke continue to give the Wallaby selectors the task of choosing one fullback from two world-class candidates.

Originally a soccer player from the NSW country town of Narrabri, Chris did not play his first game of rugby until he was 18. He moved to Sydney to join the Randwick club and in 1997 he made his debut for NSW and was a regular selection on the wing in their Super 12 team. However, with Burke in the Waratah ranks and with the offer to play in his more accustomed fullback position from north of the border, Chris signed with Queensland.

His outstanding form in the 1998 National Ricoh Championship prompted his selection for the Wallabies’ European tour. He debuted against France on that tour and had a standout performance against England. He took that confidence into the 1999 Super 12 season where he was in dynamic form for the Queensland Reds and won a further four Test caps.

2000 was a vintage year for Chris. He was the top try scorer for the Queensland Reds and was named Player of the Series in Australia. He was then selected as the starting Wallaby fullback in all 10 Tests, was Man of the Match twice and scored a remarkable eight tries, including four against Argentina. Not surprisingly he also picked up the Vodafone Award as the Player of the Year. He begins 2001 as the incumbent Wallaby fullback.


ANDREW WALKER
Position: Utility Back
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Date of Birth: 22.11.73
Nickname: Walks
Club: Canberra
State: ACT
State Debut: 2000 v Auckland
Tests: 1
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

2000 v New Zealand

Andrew Walker has continued to delight Brumbies fans at Bruce Stadium this year with his ability to pick holes in opposition backlines and run straight through them. Again, he is one of the leading try scorers in the Vodafone Super 12.

Andrew displayed his explosive acceleration, elusive step and sound defence throughout the Super 12 season. His ability to play almost anywhere in the backline at the top level has made him a natural Wallaby selection again this year.

Making his first grade debut for Randwick as a 17 year-old in 1991, Andrew went on to represent Australia in the U19s and U21s rugby teams. He then converted to Rugby League for a stint with St George and Sydney City, and was selected in the Australian Rugby League team in 1996.

His return to rugby union in 2000 was nothing short of spectacular as he scored two tries on debut for the Brumbies and finished the Super 12 season as leading try-scorer with 13 tries from as many matches.

Andrew made his Test debut when he came on as a replacement in “that match” against the All Blacks at Stadium Australia, making him the first dual international to move from the Kangaroos to the Wallabies.

 

 

 

 

DANIEL HERBERT
Position: Outside Centre
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 100 kg
Date of Birth: 6.2.74
Nickname: Herbie
Club: GPS
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1993 v Border
Tests: 48
Test Points: 35 [7t]

Test Debut:

1994 v Ireland

Daniel Herbert has been a powerhouse at outside centre for the Wallabies since 1998, when he forced Jason Little onto the Wallaby bench.

In the past 12 months he has also taken on greater responsibility on the field, assuming the Wallaby vice-captaincy in the absence of George Gregan on last year’s European tour.

In this year’s Super 12 series, he also spent considerable time at the helm of the Queensland Reds with John Eales injured for much of the time.

His powerful physique and aggressive attitude have made him a dominant presence in both defence and attack for the Wallabies

A former Australian U19 and U21 team member, Daniel debuted for Queensland against Border in 1993 but his path to a regular position was often blocked by the centre pairing of Tim Horan and Jason Little. However, Daniel’s impressive form on the Reds pre-season tour of Argentina in 1994, combined with injuries to Horan and Little, paved the way to Wallaby selection.

His Wallaby debut against Ireland year was magical, when he scored a try with his very first touch of the ball, then played two matches in Australia’s 1995 World Cup campaign in South Africa.

Daniel missed only one match for the Reds in 1997 but was restricted to one Wallaby appearance due to the dazzling form of Jason Little.

From 1998, the tables had turned and he began forcing Little out of the Wallaby starting side. He now has the remarkable record of running on for the Wallabies in all bar two Tests over the last three seasons.


 

 

JOE ROFF

Position: Wing/Fullback
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 100 kg
Date of Birth: 20.9.75
Nickname: Roffy
Club: Canberra
State: ACT
State Debut: 1994 v Queensland
Tests: 61
Test Points: 148 [22t, 10c, 6p]

Test Debut:

1995 v Canada

Joe Roff’s announcement that he would take a year off at the end of this season shocked the Australian rugby community, but it did not suppress his outstanding form and devastating attacks for the Brumbies this year.

His speed and power with the ball in hand, combined with his deft handling, and strategic kicking makes him one of the world’s best wingers.

Joe has continued to trouble defences this year, often switching to fullback from where he chimes into the attacking line.

He has played representative rugby at all junior levels and was a standout performer during the 1994 Emerging Wallabies tour of South Africa, scoring 109 points in just five matches.

Such point-scoring form won him selection in the Australian Sevens team for the Hong Kong Sevens in 1995 which was closely followed by his Test debut against Canada in the 1995 World Cup, scoring a try on debut.

He played a crucial role in the Wallabies’ World Cup victory in 1999, the same year he won the Super 12 Player of the Year in Australia. Joe won his 50th cap against South Africa in the World Cup semi final.

Joe’s consistency and durability was highlighted last year when he played his 49th, 50th and 51st consecutive Test for the Wallabies during the end-of-season tour to the UK, a record for Australian rugby.

 

 

NATHAN GREY


Position: Centre
Height:  
Weight:  
Date of Birth: 31/03/1975
Nickname: Crazy
Club: Wests (Bris), Manly, Kyushu (Japan)
State: QLD (1996), NSW 94 (1997-2005)
State Debut: 1996
Tests: 35
Test Points: 35 (7 tries)

Test Debut:

 

Nathan (‘Crazy’) Grey epitomizes the modern professional rugby player, willing to move to better himself not only financially but also for greater representative opportunities. He would back himself, knowing he had the latent ability to shine in any company. Solid and straight running and rugged in defence , he was always dependable and threatening.

A centre, perhaps better at inside centre because of his body build and lack of blinding speed , he would play for both Queensland and New South Wales, for Wests Club in Brisbane and Manly In Sydney, and Kyushu in Japan.

He is one of a number of graduates of The Southport School who have attained Australian representative status: Mark Catchpole, the son of the immortal Ken, Reg Foote, Lloyd Johansson, Barry Lea, Vaux Nicholson, Paul Perrin, Mat Rogers, Greg Shambrook, Nathan Sharpe, Ross Sheil and Max White.

Nathan Grey’s first appearance against another country was in 1996 at Rockhampton, for Queensland ‘B’ against Canada. The ‘B’ team won 23 to 6 against a weak Canadian side. In 1997 he was in the Queensland side against France at Ballymore, the Reds losing by 24 to 34.

In 1998 Nathan Grey had transferred to NSW, and he got his first Test cap at Ballymore against Scotland. Grey came on as a replacement for Tim Horan. It was an inauspicious initial entrance . As Howell, et al. reported in ‘They Came to Conquer’: “Nathan Grey came in for his Test debut when he replaced Tim Horan and immediately knocked on. However, a minute from time he cut inside Larkham close to the line and crashed over. Burke converted. The final score was 33-11 to Australia.”

He next played South Africa in Johannesburg, while his calendar for 1998 also included a Test against Fiji at Parramatta (won 66-20), Tonga at Canberra (won 74-0), France A, a non-Test match in France, then France in Paris (won 32-21) and England at Twickenham (won 12-11).
As Grey came to the fore in 1998, it was in six Tests. He knew very well the replacement rule and what possibilities it opened up.

The year 1999 once more had him acting as a replacement. Tim Horan and Daniel Herbert were the choice centres , and Jason Little and Joe Roff the wings. Each was among the world’s best. In 1999 he was in eleven Tests, he was a starter against South Africa at Ballymore, while Australia won by 32 to 6.

Another thrill was his selection in the World Cup side led by John Eales, Australia winning. He more than did his part. A replacement against Romania, Ireland, a starter against the USA, he did not get on the field against Wales and he was a replacement in the semi-final against South Africa. He unfortunately did not get a run in the final.

In November of 2000 he toured Scotland and England with the Wallabies, playing in both Tests, and in 2001 added one more Australian representation against the Maori and three Tests against the British Isles, in all of which he started. He partnered Queensland’s Daniel Herbert. Australia won the series 2 to 1. Next on a crowded program were Tests against South Africa in Pretoria (lost 15-20) and a win over New Zealand in Dunedin (23 to 15).

Then he was in the match against South Africa, the final Tri Nations of 2001. Howell, et al, wrote of this drawn match (14-14): “Nathan Grey managed to crash over in crowded broken play. He had been the most incisive Wallaby back.”

He then started against New Zealand in their 29 to 26 victory. A short tour of England and France followed, Nathan playing against an English National Division XV (won 34-22), Spain in Madrid (92-10), Oxford University (52-27), England (lost 15-21) and France in Marseilles (lost 13-14).

His career rounded out in 2003, playing against Ireland, Wales, England, Namibia and New Zealand. A sojourn in club rugby in Japan followed. The career of Nathan Grey was a superb one. He finished with 34 Test caps and four non-Test caps, and these figures point out how the professional game has changed the code.




 

STEPHEN LARKHAM

Position: Flyhalf
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 88 kg
Date of Birth: 29.5.74
Nickname: Bernie
Club: Wests (Canberra)
State: ACT
State Debut: 1994 v Victoria
Tests: 37
Test Points: 77 [14t, 2c, 1dg]

Test Debut:

1996 v Wales

Stephen Larkham has resumed his re-definition of the flyhalf role with another standout season for the ACT Brumbies in this year’s Vodafone Super 12.

His ability to stall the defensive line has resulted in countless Brumby tries this year. Stephen has clearly shown the benefits of a lay-off at the end of last year when he was rested from the Wallaby tour to allow his fragile frame to recover from an intense season.

He regained his fitness but a niggling hamstring strain at the beginning of this year forced him to miss the first few rounds of the Vodafone Super 12.

Stephen made a remarkable rise from a reserve grade club rugby to represent the ACT in 1995 and Australia in 1996.

He made his Test debut against Wales in Sydney that year, then joined the Wallabies on their undefeated tour of Europe playing on the wing. In 1997, with injury sidelining Matt Burke, Stephen proved more than a capable replacement at fullback, with a two-try effort in the Wallabies’ final Test against Scotland at Murrayfield.

His conversion from fullback to flyhalf was hailed as a Rod Macqueen masterstroke that put the Wallabies back on track in 1998. His talents have transformed the Australian backline play. Unfortunately, a mid-season knee injury cut short his 1999 Super 12 season, delaying his return to Test rugby until the World Cup itself. His history-making drop goal to seal victory over South Africa in overtime of the World Cup semifinal will never be forgotten.

Stephen’s deft touches in attack are contrasted with an uncompromising attitude in defence.


 

 

GEORGE GREGAN

Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Date of Birth: 19.4.73
Nickname: Guv
Club: Randwick
State: ACT
State Debut: 1993 v Northern
Tests: 61
Test Points: 55 [11t]

Test Debut:

1994 v Italy

George Gregan continues to take his game to new heights. This year he stepped up to the captaincy of the ACT Brumbies following the retirement of Brett Robinson, without losing any of his trademark aggression.

Fatigued at the end of last season, he was rested for the Wallabies end-of-year tour to Europe and there’s no question he has benefited from the break. He has been at the top of his game during the 2001 Vodafone Super 12 season.

Born in Zambia, George migrated to Australia with his parents, aged one. He began his rugby career at St Edmund’s College in Canberra and quickly rose through the ranks to represent ACT. He made his Test debut against Italy in early 1994 and was thrust into the spotlight in the Sydney Bledisloe Cup Test that year with the try-and-match-saving tackle on All Black Jeff Wilson.

A superb Sevens player, George represented Australia at the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens and led the team to the 1995 tournament. Representing the Brumbies in all their Super 12 clashes throughout 1996 and 1997, his exceptional form in the `97 series won him the Player of the Tournament.

That year he played in all the Wallabies’ Tests, was elevated to the Wallaby vice-captaincy and picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award. An early season injury disrupted George’s 1998 Super 12 appearances, but he recovered to play a key role in the Wallabies’ 1998 Test campaign.

He played in every Test in 1999, bar the World Cup pool match against the USA, was the form half of the 2000 Super 12 tournament, and a key player in Australia’s Bledisloe and Tri Nations victories.

 

 

TOUTAI KEFU
Position: No.8
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 113 kg
Date of Birth: 8.4.74
Nickname: Kef
Club: Souths
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1995 v Natal
Tests: 33
Test Points: 30 [6t]

Test Debut:

1997 v South Africa

Toutai Kefu has continued his reputation as a dynamic ball-carrying Number Eight into this year’s Vodafone Super 12 series with some devastating raids for the Queensland Reds.

He started his rugby career as a centre and continues to display those deft touches along with the more traditional facets of backrow play. Toutai has been in outstanding form in this year’s Super 12.

His ability to get behind the advantage line and his unyielding defence has seen him miss only four Wallaby matches in the past two years.

Toutai’s was named Queensland Colt of the Year in 1993 and also won selection in the Australian U19 side. He progressed to the Australian U21s the next year then made his debut for Queensland in 1995, scoring with his first touch of the ball.

In 1996 Toutai was a member of the Wallabies’ undefeated tour of Europe, but had to wait until the second Tri Nations clash against South Africa in 1997 to make his Test debut. An excellent Super 12 series for the Reds in 1998 saw him in the No. 8 Wallaby jersey for the bulk of that year.

That form continued in 1999 with a Man of the Match performance in Australia’s Bledisloe Cup victory. He was one of the stand-out players during RWC ’99, with three tries against Romania, a memorable stoush with Ireland’s Trevor Brennan and a big game in the Final.

Last year Toutai had to share national duties with the in-form Jim Williams and Mark Connors and was only able to grab a starting position for one match.

 

 

GEORGE SMITH

Position: Openside Flanker
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 97 kg
Date of Birth: 17.7.80
Nickname: George
Club: Manly
State: ACT
State Debut: 1999 v NSW
Tests: 3
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

2000 v France

George Smith’s form for the Brumbies in this year’s Vodafone Super 12 demonstrated why he made such a dynamic rise from the Manly Colts to the Brumbies, then to his first Test cap against France last year.

The exit of veteran open-side flanker David Wilson last year left a hole in Australian rugby which George has quickly filled.

His speed to the breakdown and ability to pilfer opposition ball quickly turns defence into attack.

Last year he was frequently used off the bench by the Brumbies, but with the retirement of Brett Robinson, George has taken his game to another level in this year’s Super 12 campaign, named Man of the Match on numerous occasions.

A product of Cromer High School, George will celebrate his 21st birthday on the day of the 3rd Test against the Lions. He is the youngster of the team, yet he has vast representative experience.

It was during a schoolboy match in 1996 that he caught the attention of his current Brumbies coach, Eddie Jones. That year he toured the UK with the Australian U16s and was named Player of the Tour. He went on to represent the Australian Schoolboys, U19s and U21s before being snapped up by the Brumbies in 1999.

 

 

OWEN FINEGAN
Position: Flanker/Lock
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 119 kg
Date of Birth: 22.4.72
Nickname: Melon
Club: Randwick
State: ACT
State Debut: 1994 v Southland (NSW)
Tests: 33
Test Points: 30 [6t]

Test Debut:

1996 v Wales

The big, bruising Brumby backrower is back to his best in 2001, featuring prominently in the Vodafone Super 12 try-scoring stakes.

He missed a Wallaby jersey last year after an excellent Super 12 season ended abruptly in Round Ten with a knee injury.

With 33 Test caps to his name, Owen Finegan is one of the most experienced forwards in the Wallaby pack. Before the 1999 World Cup he declared he would score a try in the final, a vow he fulfilled with a bustling run to the French line to put the World Cup within Australia’s grasp.

Owen has the perfect mix of strength and strategy and often breaks through the advantage line running off the first receiver. He was a foundation member of the 1996 Brumbies, making him an integral part of Coach Eddie Jones’ leadership team.

Owen’s superb communication with teammate George Gregan to take sharp inside flick passes have been a feature of his game for the Wallabies and the Brumbies.


 

 

JOHN EALES
Position: Lock
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 119 kg
Date of Birth: 27.6.70
Nickname: Parra, Ealesy
Club: Brothers
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1990 v Canterbury
Tests: 79
Test Points: 173 [2t, 31c, 34p]

Test Debut:

1991 v Wales

Hailed as the most complete lock in international rugby, this year John Eales celebrates a decade of playing rugby for Australia. He is Australia’s most capped captain and has played a part in winning every international rugby trophy for Australia. The Lions remain the only team he has not played against.

An achilles injury kept John out of the Queensland side for the first half of the Super 12 season, but his return sparked new confidence in the Reds who looked impressive in the final rounds.

John’s calm leadership helped Australia achieve its first Tri Nations championship last year, with his penalty goal on the bell against the All Blacks in Wellington one of the season highlights for Australian rugby.

John’s 1999 World Cup campaign was also a remarkable achievement, given he’d missed the entire Super 12 and domestic Test season through a shoulder injury. John has been the Wallabies’ captain since 1996, and one of their most consistent performers. He is regarded as the archetype of the modern lock - tall and athletic, with wonderful ball skills and a goal kicking boot.

John won the coveted Best and Fairest award in Brisbane club rugby in 1990 and made his Queensland debut that year. He made his debut for Australia against Wales as a 21 year old in 1991 then played every match of Australia’s World Cup victory.

His astonishing rise continued in 1992 when he was selected to play for the World XV in the Centenary Series against New Zealand but a shoulder injury on the Wallabies’ season-end tour to Wales and Ireland forced him to miss the entire 1993 season.

In 1994, John returned to the Australian side for their opening Test against Ireland, and has since played in 62 of the last 73 Tests. In 1997, he won his 50th Test cap against England at Twickenham and in 1999 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the community and rugby.

Few honours have eluded John, but surprisingly it wasn’t until 2000 that he was handed the captaincy of the Queensland Reds for the Super 12 season.


 

 

DAVID GIFFIN

Position: Lock
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 107 kg
Date of Birth: 6.11.73
Nickname: Giff, Hubble
Club: Canberra
State: ACT
State Debut: 1996 v Transvaal (ACT),
Tests: 26
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

1996 v Wales

David Giffin had a horror start to the Vodafone Super 12 season this year when a freak training accident put him on the sideline for the first seven rounds. However by the end of the season he was back at his best to help take the Brumbies to their third Super 12 finals series.

David Giffin has collected 26 Test caps since his debut in 1996 and is set to add to that tally this year with his high work rate and lineout skills.

David first wore an Australian jumper for the U21s against England and New Zealand in 1993. After making his debut for the Queensland Reds against Natal in 1995, he was later selected for the Australian XV versus England XV match. A dynamic 1996 season for the Brumbies saw him selected for the Wallabies’ European tour. He was judged Man of the Match in his debut against Wales that year.

In 1997, David played the opening Tests against France, but a training accident ended his international season. Ruled out of the opening Bledisloe Cup match with a broken foot, he later broke his hand in his comeback match in club rugby. 1998 was a write-off through injury, but he has now been at the top of his game for the past three years. He and Joe Roff are the only two Wallabies to have played in every Test since the start of the 1999 season.


 

 

GLENN PANOHO
Position: Prop
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 118 kg
Date of Birth: 12.5.71
Nickname: Pancho, Texas
Club: Brothers
State: Queensland
State Debut: Debut: 1993 v Fiji
Tests: 18
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

1998 v South Africa

Glenn Panoho was used as an impact player from the bench during the Wallabies’ 2000 Test campaign, missing only one of the 10 matches. His ability to cover both loose and tighthead makes him a valuable talent to have in the team. Glenn has also been a consistent performer for Queensland, playing in nearly every Vodafone Super 12 game in the last two seasons.

Born in New Zealand, Glenn made his Test debut for Australia in 1998 and became a fixture in the Wallaby squad. He won his first cap as a replacement against South Africa in Johannesburg, but fate struck a cruel blow when injury forced him to return home from the end-of-year tour to France and England.

An outstanding loose forward at schoolboy level, Glenn moved to the front row to represent Australia at U19 and U21 levels. He is a powerful scrummager and very quick around the field.

In 1993, he made his Queensland debut when sent on as a replacement on their short tour of the South Pacific but had to wait until 1997 to win regular selection in the Reds squad. Starting 1998 stronger and fitter than in previous years, Glenn was in outstanding form for Queensland which in turn paved the way for the start of his international caree


 

r.

JEREMY PAUL

Position: Hooker
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 102 kg
Date of Birth: 14.3.77
Nickname: JP
Club: Canberra
State: ACT
State Debut: 998 v East Japan
Tests: 24
Test Points: 25 [5t]

Test Debut:

1998 v Scotland

Jeremy Paul was a model of consistency in the 2001 Vodafone Super 12 season, again excelling in the hooker’s traditional roles of scrummaging, lineout throwing and the hard yards up front.

Jeremy possesses exceptional ball skills and a fine running game, setting up Chris Latham’s crucial try against South Africa to clinch the Tri Nations series last year. Rod Macqueen nominated it as his Try of the Year.

Jeremy’s ongoing battle with Michael Foley has been a driving motivation. Although Michael was the run-on hooker for all 10 Tests last year, Jeremy replaced him in every match and scored two tries.

Born in New Zealand, Jeremy moved to Queensland with his family as a youngster. He represented Queensland U19s before making the Australian U19s side in 1995 and 1996. The next year Jeremy had a successful year with the Australian U21s before joining the Brumbies as the second string hooker under Marco Caputo.

It wasn’t long before the Wallaby selectors realised his potential, winning his first Test cap against Scotland in Sydney in 1998, before winning his first run-on cap against Tonga in front of his home crowd at Bruce Stadium.


 

 

NICK STILES

Position: Loosehead Prop
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 112 kg
Date of Birth: 17.10.73
Nickname: Stilesy
Club: University
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1998 v Hong Kong
Tests: 0
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

Uncapped

Nick Stiles has become part of the furniture in Queensland’s front row, but he is no couch potato. He has great mobility and a high work rate, combining bullocking midfields bursts with crunching defence.

After captaining the Reds against Argentina last year, Nick cracked the Wallaby squad for the end-of-season tour to France and the UK, but was unable to win his first cap.

If he takes the field for the Wallabies this year he will be looking to emulate his 1998 Queensland debut when he scored a try in the first two minutes.

Nick started playing rugby at an early age and gained selection for the Queensland schoolboys in 1991. The next year he went one step further, playing with Wallaby Joe Roff in the Australian Schoolboys team.

He propped in the Queensland U21s in 1993 and 1994 then finally secured a place with the Queensland Reds in 1998.


 

 

MATTHEW BURKE

Position: Fullback
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 97 kg
Date of Birth: 26.3.73
Nickname: Burkey
Club: Eastwood
State: NSW
State Debut: 1992 v Fiji
Tests: 47
Test Points: 566 [21t, 70c, 107p]

Test Debut:

1993 v South Africa

Matthew Burke has long been regarded as one of the finest fullbacks and goalkickers in world rugby.

For many years an automatic pick in this position, Matt has faced a strong challenge from Queensland’s Chris , whose form forced Burke onto the wing for Australia’s 2000 tour to France and the UK. From that position he scored 57 of the 67 points for the Wallabies in the three Tests.

This year Matt has shouldered new responsibilities, taking over the captaincy of a young NSW Waratahs outfit. His form and poise have had a major influence on the team, who performances dipped sharply when injury forced him onto the sidelines.

Matt’s long career in representative rugby began in 1990 when he toured the UK and Ireland with the Australian Schoolboys. He then graduated to the Australian U21s team in 1992 and 1993 at the same time as playing at the Hong Kong Sevens in 1992 and the World Cup Sevens in 1993. His Test debut was inevitable in 1993 when he played in the Third Test against the Springboks.

In 1996 Matt scored a record 39 points in a Test against Canada, breaking Michael Lynagh’s previous record by 11 points, and finished the year with 189 points at an average of over 17 points per match. In 1998 he scored all 24 of the Wallabies points against New Zealand at the MCG, a world record against the All Blacks.

As the Wallaby fullback in 1999 he scored an amazing 23 points against the All Blacks at Stadium Australia, 24 points against South Africa in the RWC semi final and 25 points against France.

At 47 Tests, Matt is Australia’s most capped fullback, and with 566 Test points at the start of this season, he is Australia’s second all-time record point scorer behind Michael Lynagh on 911.

 

 

ELTON FLATLEY
Position: Flyhalf/Centre
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Date of Birth: 7.5.77
Nickname: Flats
Club: Brothers
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1996 v Otago
Tests: 3
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

1997 v England

Elton Flatley made the most of the Wallaby end-of-season tour last year, coming on for his third cap in the Test against Scotland. His solid performance looked to have filled the gap left by Stephen Larkham
’s absence, but by the end of the match he had suffered a broken wrist and was ruled out for the final match against England.

Solid performances for the Queensland Reds in this year’s Vodafone Super 12 season sees Elton firmly in the selector’s minds. His general play has been outstanding and his goalkicking very reliable.

Widely regarded as one of the finest schoolboy rugby players Australia has seen, he enjoyed a remarkable four years in the First XV at Nudgee College and in his final year of school captained the Australian Schoolboys side.

In 1996 he made his Queensland debut, becoming the youngest player to do so since Michael Lynagh in 1982, then went on to become a valuable member of the undefeated Australian U21s squad that year and again in 1997.

Elton was rewarded with selection on the Wallabies’ season-end tour in 1997, making his Test debut against England. The next two years saw him battling injuries and the impressive form of Shane Drahm, limiting his appearances for the Queensland Reds, but he has been in stunning form in this year’s Vodafone Super 12.

 

 

MICHAEL FOLEY

Position: Hooker
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 105 kg
Date of Birth: 7.6.67
Nickname:  
Club: Axel, Stonefish
State: Wests
State Debut: Queensland
Tests: 39
Test Points: 15 [3t]

Test Debut:

1995 v Canada

Michael Foley is the most experienced player in the Queensland pack after John Eales. He played his 100th game for the Reds during this year’s Vodafone Super 12 season. Michael was the starting hooker in all ten Tests last year, but was replaced by Jeremy Paul in a tactical substitution in each match.

Michael has been a regular in Australian teams since 1996, is an excellent organiser in the scrum and an accurate lineout thrower. “Axel’s” experience was there for the Wallabies at the 1999 World Cup, guiding Australia to the final after Phil Kearns was injured.

He made his Test debut in 1995, but had to wait until 1996 to cement his place in the side for the next two seasons. In 1998, Phil Kearns’ return from injury bumped him out of the regular team, but he played a big part in the World Cup build up.

A product of St Patrick’s College in Sydney, Michael moved north and made his debut for the Reds against Saitama in Japan in 1991. In 1994, 14 impressive appearances for Queensland earned him the Reds’ Best and Fairest award. The following year he was selected as reserve hooker for both Tests against Argentina before winning his first cap as a replacement in the World Cup pool match against Canada.

 

 

BEN DARWIN
Position: Tighthead Prop
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 115 kg
Date of Birth: 17.10.76
Nickname: Robo
Club: Northern Suburbs
State: ACT
State Debut: 0
Tests: 0
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

Uncapped

Ben Darwin has made the most of his opportunities with the ACT Brumbies following the departure of Patricio Noriega to France at the end of last season.

The young tighthead has excelled for the Brumbies alongside Jeremy Paul and Bill Young. He has been training under the watchful eye of Brumbies scrum advisor Andrew Blades and at 24 he is likely to figure heavily in Australian rugby in the future.

A product of Barker College in Sydney, Ben won selection in the Australian U21s in 1997 then the Australian Barbarians in 1998. He broke into the ACT Brumbies in 1998 and was set for a big year in 1999 until a collision with Jonah Lomu ended his season with a broken arm.

A calf injury interrupted his season in 2000, but this year he has enjoyed an untroubled run with the Vodafone Super 12 frontrunners.


 

 

MATT COCKBAIN
Position: Blindside Flanker/Lock
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 105 kg
Date of Birth: 19.9.72
Nickname: Labbie
Club: GPS
State: Queensland
State Debut: 1995 v England XV
Tests: 35
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

1997 v France

A blindside flanker best known for his bone-jarring defence, Matt has been a regular feature of the Wallaby landscape since 1997. He played in seven of the Wallabies’ Tests last year and was a key to Queensland’s excellent form in the latter part of this year’s Vodafone Super 12 series. His ability to excel anywhere in the back five of the scrum, and at lineout time, gives Coach Rod Macqueen a wealth of options.

Schooled at Innisfail High School in Far North Queensland, Matt didn’t strap on a pair of rugby boots until he was 16 years old. It took him only two years to make the Queensland U19 team. He moved to Brisbane in 1994 and made his debut for Queensland in 1995 against an English XV, collecting the Reds’ Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season.

Matt got his first taste of Super 12 rugby in 1997, then won his first cap as a replacement against France later that year. He featured heavily in the Bledisloe and Tri Nations series in 1998 and 1999, and played in four of the 1999 World Cup matches, including the final.


 

 

DAVID LYONS
Position: Flanker/No.8
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 116 kg
Date of Birth: 16.6.80
Nickname: Mini Melon
Club: Sydney University
State: NSW
State Debut: 2000 v Stormers
Tests: 2
Test Points: 0

Test Debut:

2000 v Argentina

David Lyons is a versatile young backrower whose strength and speed around the field for the Waratahs again has him in Test calculations .

David’s rise to Waratah and Wallaby ranks last year were meteoric. He has played rugby for just six years, starting in Year 11 of high school where he quickly made a huge impact to win Australian Schoolboy selection. In 1998, he skippered the Australian Schoolboys on their undefeated tour of the UK.

David’s rise continued in 1999 with selection in the NSW and Australian U19 teams, although injury cut short his season.

His performances in those arenas were sufficient for him to be selected first for the Waratahs in 2000 and then the Wallabies, having never played a game of club rugby.

David won his first two caps last year as a replacement in the two Tests against Argentina, then joined the season-end tour to France and the UK.

 

 

CHRIS WHITAKER

Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Date of Birth: 19.10.74
Nickname: Whits
Club: Randwick
State: NSW
State Debut: 1997 v Canterbury
Tests: 8
Test Points: 10 [2t]

Test Debut:

1998 v South Africa (rep)

Chris Whitaker managed to withstand heavy pressure this year from the tenacious Sam Payne to be the run-on halfback for the NSW Waratahs for the bulk of the Vodafone Super 12 season.

Chris lost out to Sam Cordingley as the injured George Gregan’s replacement during last year’s end of season Wallaby tour. His form this year suggests he’ll throw out a strong challenge to regain the position behind Gregan.

Chris is a “rugby lifer”, having taken up the game as a seven-year-old. He worked up through the ranks at Randwick Rugby Club before making the NSW U21s team in 1995.

His strong pass and resolute defence helped him gain selection as a Waratah in 1997 where he was the back up halfback to Sam Payne. In 1998 Chris was voted the Rookie of the Year.

His continued strong performances over the past four years have earned him 8 Test caps, including game time in the 1999 World Cup Final.