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Australian rugby is mourning the passing of one of its greatest halfbacks after Cyril Burke, who played for the Wallabies between 1946-57, died on Monday morning.
Burke, who was aged 84 when he passed away peacefully in a nursing home near Newcastle, played 26 Test matches for Australia during a highly distinguished career which included seven overseas tours.
Four of those were to New Zealand (1946, `49, `52 and `55), with the NSW No.9 making his Test debut in front of 30,000 people against the All Blacks at Auckland’s Eden Park in the the 1946 series.
Australia lost a close match, 14-10, but closed the gap considerably on their rivals, after having dropped the first Test, 31-8 at Dunedin.
Burke’s second visit to New Zealand in 1949 saw Australia beat the All Blacks in a series on New Zealand soil for the first time.
Burke played both Test matches as Australia won 11-6 in Wellington and 16-9 in Auckland to regain the Bledisloe Cup.
In all, Burke wore the Wallaby jumper 91 times when all tour matches are factored in, while also appearing for NSW on 36 occasions.
Cyril Burke is survived by his wife Marge and sons Bruce, Colin, Paul and Ross.