Ben McCalman
Position Number 8
Date of birth 18 March 1988
Height 192cm
Weight 106kg
Debut 2010 vs South Africa, Brisbane
Caps 53

Biography

A physical No.8 from Dubbo, Ben McCalman has endured a career that has been interrupted by persistent injury. Nonetheless, he has overcome such adversity to be a dual Rugby World Cup representative and play off the bench in the 2015 final against New Zealand. Educated at Kinross Walaroi School, Orange, McCalman represented Australia at both schoolboy and aged levels before he signed with the fledgling Western Force to play Super Rugby. In 2010, McCalman made his Test debut against South Africa in Brisbane and the following year was chosen for the first of his two Rugby World Cup squads. He had an outstanding 2015 season, one that saw him win the Nathan Sharpe Medal as the Force’s most valuable player and also be involved in one of the defining moments of that year’s Rugby World Cup. With Australia reduced to 13 with two players in the sin bin during the crucial pool match with Wales, McCalman held up giant Welsh centre George North over the tryline with one of the most significant Wallaby tackles since George Gregan (1994) and Enrique Rodriguez (1986) helped decide Bledisloe Cup triumphs. In 2017, McCalman became the 55th Wallaby to play 50 Tests.

Highlights

2005
Represented Australian Schools against New Zealand in Canberra. McCalman was later selected to tour with the schoolboys to the U.K. and Ireland at the end of the year alongside a raft of future Wallabies including Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper and David Pocock.

2006
Selected for the Australian Schools tour of Fiji and New Zealand.

2008
Represented Australian U20s at the Junior World Championships in Wales.

2010
McCalman won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Richard Brown in the 30-13, 1st Test win over South Africa in Brisbane. He made his run-on debut at No. 8 in the historic 41-39, 3rd Test victory over South Africa at Bloemfontein. McCalman finished the year with nine caps, the last seven of which were won consecutively as the starting No.8.

2011
He played in 12 of the year’s 13 internationals and only missed the 14-9, 2nd Test win over South Africa in Durban. McCalman won selection in the Wallabies 2001 Rugby World Cup squad but was rather controversially chosen as the cover for David Pocock at openside flanker. The decision left Australia without a specialist No.7 for the key pool match against Ireland when Pocock withdrew on the morning of the game due to soreness associated with a back strain.

2012
A nerve injury in his shoulder sidelined McCalman for much of the year before a fracture to the radius in his forearm saw him miss the entire Test season.

2013
McCalman won eight caps over the course of the year but only one as a starting No.8 following the selection of Wycliff Palu for the Lions series and then as ACT Brumby Ben Mowen assumed both the position and the captaincy at the back end of the season.

2014
He earned a further nine caps and his efforts were rewarded when he was selected in the run-on XV for all four Spring Tour internationals.

2015
As he did a year earlier, McCalman won nine test caps although five came from the bench. He won selection to a second Rugby World Cup and played in six of the seven Tests. He was responsible for one of the tournament’s iconic moments. Reduced to just thirteen men in the pool game against Wales, McCalman prevented centre George North from scoring what would have been the decisive try when he made a crucial ball and all tackle that held him up over the try-line in the 63rd minute. Australia hung on for an epic, tryless 15-6 victory.

2016
He won just two Test caps for the year as injury intervened. McCalman suffered a broken shoulder coming off the bench against England in Melbourne and, rather incredibly, broke that same shoulder for a second time against New Zealand in Sydney.

2017
McCalman missed both the June the Rugby Championship Test windows with a fractured scapula. A strong performance off the bench against the Barbarians in Sydney coupled with an injury to starting No.6 Jack Dempsey in the same game opened the door for McCalman to win a spot on the Spring Tour and in doing so resurrected his Test career. Stuck on 49 caps for more than a year McCalman was finally rewarded with his 50th Test cap when he came off the bench against Japan in Yokohama.