Australian Rugby Union today farewelled former one time Wallaby, Neill Latimer, after he passed away last Thursday aged 81.
Mr Latimer was born in Melbourne in 1930 but completed his secondary schooling at one of Sydney’s Rugby nurseries, Knox Grammar.
While playing for the Gordon Club in the Sydney competition and without having ever represented NSW, he was selected for his first and only Test cap for the Wallabies in 1957.
Neill joined Terry Curley, Brian Ford, John Potts, Rod Phelps, Alan Morton, Dick Tooth (capt.), Brian Cox, Bill Gunther, Dave Emanuel, Tony Miller, Keith Cross, Nick Shehadie, Jim Brown and Bob Davidson for his only Test, which was against the dominant 1957 touring All Blacks side in Brisbane.
Unfortunately the Wallabies finished on the wrong side of the ledger, with the score line reading All Blacks 22 – Wallabies 9, however it was widely agreed that Latimer had shown good skill and aggression.
Despite consistently playing good hard rugby for his club, including the years that Gordon won the premiership, it was extremely difficult for Neill to force his way into the NSW team and gain further Wallaby caps.
The difficulty lay in the fact that NSW, and thus Australia, already had four outstanding locks - Tony(‘Slaggy’) Miller, David Emanuel, Alan Cameron and Jon White – who are still considered as amongst the greatest Australian players in that position for their era.
Australian Rugby Union passed on its sincerest condolences today as Mr Latimer was remembered at a ceremony Tamworth.
The HSBC Waratahs, who are playing a trial match in Tamworth this evening against Samoa, will pay their respects to Mr Latimer with a minutes silence prior to kick-off.
Neill Buchanan Latimer
Date of Birth: 5/09/1930
Place of Birth: Melbourne
School Attended: Knox Grammar School, Sydney
Wallaby Number: 428
Test Cap: 1
Position Played: Lock
State: NSW - Not represented at the State level