Rugby community mourns passing of Leonard Diett

by Rugby Australia

Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby Union have joined together with the rugby community in mourning Wallaby number 452, Leonard Diett, who passed away this week at the age of 78.

The Manly Boys' High School old boy played twice for Australia and was known for his ability to read the play.

The crafty centre first earned Test selection for the opening Test of the 1959 British and Irish Lions series, a game in which Australia fell 6-17 at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground.

Diett was a stalwart of Manly Rugby Club in Sydney and was nominated for their Team of the Century while the talented athlete also enjoyed a stint in Rugby League for North Sydney before moving his family to the United States of America to play Rugby Union for the University of Oregon. He also played for the Montreal Irish Rugby Club in Canada before moving home to Australia to teach physical education.
Diett even briefly coached Australian Rules after he was recruited by the legendary Tom Hafey to the Richmond Tigers as a defensive coach.

Classic Wallabies Manager, Stephen Hoiles offered Rugby Australia’s condolences: “The Australian Rugby community is mourning Len's passing and our thoughts are with the Diett family at this difficult time.

“A talented centre, Len enjoyed the great traditions of Rugby through representing his club Manly, New South Wales and Australia," Hoiles said.

Diett has been a long term resident of Ballina in New South Wales and was instrumental in establishing Colts Rugby to the NSW Far North Coast Competition. His enthusiasm, skill and leadership were integral in Ballina Rugby Club winning three successive premierships in the Under 19 Competition from 1987-89.

He leaves behind his wife Lee, four children and eight grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2pm this Saturday, January 20, at Seagulls Rugby League Club in Ballina.