The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Following the progression of most capped Wallabies 1899-2016

The Wallabies need to remember their proud, winning history. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Roar Guru
10th October, 2016
15
1014 Reads

The Wallabies played their first-ever Test way back in 1899, and in the years leading up to the start of World War I, they appeared in just 24 matches.

Since then, the number of Test matches has slowly increased to the point where the national team play around 14 every year.

I came across some old paperwork I had done on the growth of most capped Wallabies over time, first at the most capped players every 20 years, then every ten years.

Following that first Test, I looked at who had the most Tests at the end of 1919 (end of WW1), 1939 (start of WW2), 1959, 1979, and then by decades from 1989, 1999, 2009 and up to the present.

It’s easy to see that until the end of 1989 the progression of most capped players had been a steady but slow increase.

But by the end of 1999, it was obvious the amount of Test matches played annually had exploded.

Anyway, let’s look at the stats:

1899-1919
Fred Wood (scrumhalf) – 12
Pat Murphy (utility fwd) – 9
Larry Dwyer (fullback) – 8
Harry George (prop) – 8
Larry Wogan (centre) – 6x
Ernie Carr (wing) – 6
Tom Griffin (hooker) – 6
Ward Prentice (inside back) – 6
Norm Row (backrow) – 6
Bill Tasker (flyhalf) – 6

Despite winning most caps for the period, Wood played second fiddle to Chris McKivat on the 1908-09 tour.

Advertisement
Advertisement

1920-39
Larry Wogan (centre) – 22
Jock Blackwood (hooker) – 21
Eddie Bonis (hooker) – 21
‘Wild’ Bill Cerutti (prop) – 21
Tom Davis (prop) – 20
Alec Ross (fullback) – 20
Otto Nothling (fullback) – 19
Cyril Towers (centre) – 19
Syd Malcolm (scrumhalf) – 18
Billy Sheehan (inside back ) – 18

Nothling also earned a solitary Test cricket cap, when the great Don Bradman was dropped, for the only time, after his debut Test in 1928-29.

1940-1959
Nick Shehadie (prop/lock) – 30
Tony Miller (prop/lock) – 26
Cyril Burke (scrumhalf) – 26
Larry Wogan (centre) – 22
Jock Blackwood (hooker) – 21
Eddie Bonis (hooker) – 21
‘Wild’ Bill Cerutti (prop) – 21
Alan Cameron (lock) – 20
Col Windon (flanker) – 20
Tom Davis (prop) – 20
Alec Ross (fullback) – 20

By 1959, half a dozen from the pre-WW2 period remained among the most capped, while Shehadie was the first Wallaby to 30 Tests (vs Ireland, in January 1958).

1960-1979
Peter Johnson (hooker) – 42
Tony Miller (prop/lock) – 41
Greg Davis (flanker) – 39
John Thornett (prop/lock) – 37
John Hipwell (scrumhalf) – 31
Nick Shehadie (prop/lock) – 30
Ken Catchpole (scrumhalf) – 27
Geoff Shaw (centre) – 27
Cyril Burke (scrumhalf) – 26
Tony Shaw (flanker) – 25
Roy Prosser (prop) – 25

Tony Miller was the first Wallaby to achieve 40 Tests (vs Ireland, May 1967).

1980-1989
Simon Poidevin (flanker) – 51
David Campese (winger) – 48
Peter Johnson (hooker) – 42
Tom Lawton Jr (hooker) – 41
Tony Miller (prop/lock) – 41
Greg Davis (flanker) – 39
Andy Slack (centre) – 39
Andy McIntyre (prop) – 38
Nick Farr-Jones (scrumhalf) – 37
John Thornett (prop/Lock) – 37

Simon Poidevin was the first Wallaby to achieve 50 Tests (vs New Zealand, July 1988).

Advertisement
Advertisement

1990-1999
David Campese (winger) – 101
Tim Horan (centre) – 79
David Wilson (flanker) – 72
Mike Lynagh (inside back) – 72
John Eales (lock) – 69
Jason Little (centre) – 68
Phil Kearns (hooker) – 67
Nick Farr-Jones (scrumhalf) – 63
Simon Poidevin (flanker) – 59
George Gregan (scrumhalf) – 54
Joe Roff (winger) – 51
Ewen McKenzie (prop) – 51

David Campese was the first Wallaby to achieve 100 Tests (vs Italy, October 1996).

2000-2009
George Gregan (scrumhalf) – 139
George Smith (flanker) – 110
Steve Larkham (flyhalf) – 102
David Campese (winger) – 101
John Eales (lock) – 86
Joe Roff (winger) – 86
Matt Burke (fullback) – 81
Tim Horan (centre) – 80
Stirling Mortlock (centre) – 80
Nathan Sharpe (lock) – 79
Phil Waugh (flanker) – 79
David Wilson (flanker) – 79
Matt Giteau (inside back) – 78
Chris Latham (outside back) – 78
Jason Little (centre) – 75

George Gregan reached his 130th Test against Fiji, Jun 2007.

2010-2016
George Gregan (scrumhalf) – 139
Adam Ashley-Cooper (outside back) – 116
Nathan Sharpe (lock) – 116
Stephen Moore (hooker) – 111
George Smith (flanker) – 111
Matt Giteau (inside back ) – 103
Steve Larkham (flyhalf) – 102
David Campese (winger) – 101
John Eales (lock) – 86
Joe Roff (winger) – 86

No doubt those Wallabies fans with an appreciation of the history of the game will be fascinated by these stats. They show at regular intervals who the most capped players were, and also who were generally the best players.

If it proves anything, it is that there are far too many Test matches in the modern era, most of them meaningless revenue raisers.

New Zealand-born centre Larry Wogan required 12 seasons (1913-24) to accumulate his 22 Test appearances and remain the most capped Wallaby until 1939. On the other hand, all bar one of George Smith’s 111 Tests were achieved in less than a decade.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Whereas it took Simon Poidevin a full decade to reach 50 Tests, today a player can achieve that many in just four seasons. It’s insane!