Tom Richards

Tom Richards was the journeyman of early international rugby.  Playing for numerous clubs, representative and international sides, his love of the game was only paralleled by his attention to detail. It was Richards' prodigious strength and mastery of skills and tactics that led him to being a natural selection in many sides around the world.

 
Born in Northern NSW in the 1880s, Richards grew up in the gold mining town of Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. His interest in rugby and the world outside Charters Towers was sparked by a visiting NSW Rugby Team.   Setting himself a grueling training schedule he soon represented Queensland before the family moved to South Africa in 1905. 
 
Once there he played for Transvaal in two Currie Cup matches and then traveled to England playing County rugby before returning to Australia in time to be selected for the first Wallaby tour of 1908. On tour he scored the first Wallaby try against Wales and was a member of the gold medal winning Rugby team in the 1908 London Olympics.
 
Having returned to South Africa in 1910, Richards played as a replacement for the visiting British Isles (Lions) touring team - qualifying because of his early County representation in England.  Back in Australia he was chosen for the Australian tour to the US and Canada in 1912 and at the end of the tour he traveled to France where he became player/manager for Toulouse.
 
In World War I he took part in the landing at Gallipoli and was awarded the Military Cross for his conspicuous bravery on the battlefields of France. The only Wallaby to have played for the Lions, the trophy contested between the Wallabies and the British and Irish Lions, is named in his honour.