Following the progression of most capped Wallabies 1899-2016

sheek Roar Guru

By sheek, sheek is a Roar Guru

Tagged:
 ,

15 Have your say

    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.

    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).

    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.

    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!

    A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (15)

    • Roar Guru

      October 11th 2016 @ 7:46am
      Wal said | October 11th 2016 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Cheers Sheek

      The 1965 AB’s team took 5 years to achieve what the current AB’s have in just over 12 months – 17 Wins.

    • October 11th 2016 @ 8:57am
      IceBlue said | October 11th 2016 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      Thanks Sheek, that is certainly a very good representation of the increased number of internationals.

      Two questions to follow up your conclusions (apologies in advance if your answer(s) are on other threads):

      1) How many tests do you think a top international team (in this case the Wallabies) should play in a year?
      2) To achieve this number, which games should be dropped from the standard Wallabies season?

    • Columnist

      October 11th 2016 @ 9:48am
      Brett McKay said | October 11th 2016 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Having seen them play in person Sheek, who would you say were the standout players in that 1899-1919 generation?!? 😆

      No, I jest. This is quality stuff mate, and where you really hit your straps. Few Roarers have a better grasp on Wallabies history like you…

      • Roar Guru

        October 11th 2016 @ 10:26am
        sheek said | October 11th 2016 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        Brett,

        Funny you should ask. I was thinking of doing a follow-up with 20 year selections, 1899-1919, 1920-39, etc.

        Here’s a preview of my 23 from 1899-1919.

        15 – Larry Dwyer, 8 tests. The Matt Burke of his day, played fullback, centre, kicked goals.

        14 – Lonnie Spragg , 4 tests. The only selection from 1899. Died young at 24 in 1904. The Campo of his day, excitement machine.

        13 – Larry Wogan, 6 tests, plus 16 more 1920-24. Although he played more tests post-war, he belongs more to this era. Sound.

        12 – Jimmy Flynn, two tests. Youngest ever Wallaby captain at 20. The Matt Giteau of his day without the attitude.

        11- Dally Messenger, two tests. Needs no introduction or explanation.

        10 – Ward Prentice, 6 tests. Possibly think Tony Melrose. Solid in everything he did.

        9 – Chris McKivat (c), 4 tests. Only player to captain both Wallabies & Kangaroos.

        8 – Syd Middleton, 4 tests. Tallest member of 1908/09 tourists but mobile & aggressive. Also champion eights rower.

        7 – Jim Hughes, 2 tests. Rated best forward of Sydney club rugby circa 1906-10.

        6 – Tom Richards, 3 tests. Once aclaimed at the time as best player on the planet.

        5 – Paddy McCue, 5 tests. Aggressive, mobile forward, mainstay of team 1907-09.

        4 – Harry Judd (vc), 5 tests. Rated best forward of Sydney club rugby circa 1901-05.

        3 – Willie Watson, 5 tests plus 3 1920. Decorated war hero & captain of AIF in 1919 & Waratahs/Wallabies in 1920.

        2 – Tom Griffin, 6 tests. Most proficient exponent of hooking in this period.

        1 – Harry George, 8 tests. Solid all-round performer. Tragically killed during Great War.

        Bench:

        23 – Stan Wickham, 5 tests. Versatile three-quarter. First coach of Wallabies in 1908/09.

        22 – Bill Evans, two tests. Another from 1899. Brilliant cricketer as well. Retired young due dicky knee.

        21 – Fred Wood, 12 tests. Most capped player of the period, but second fiddle to McKivat.

        20 – Harald Baker, two tests. Younger brother of legendary Reg Baker. Ferocious, competitive flanker, later a renowned coach.

        19 – Paddy Murphy, 9 tests. Most capped forward of the period, versatile in back five forward positions.

        18 – Charlie Hammand, two tests. Difficult finding props up to the mark. Young tourist in 1908/09 who then concentrated on medical career.

        17 – Jimmy Clarken, 4 tests. Canny hooker/prop who knew all the tricks of the day.

        16 – Jim Barnett, 5 tests. Pugnacious prop/hooker from 1907-09.

        Thanks for the kind words Brett. Yes, I’m most comfortable when discussing Wallabies rugby history.

      • October 11th 2016 @ 5:01pm
        CUW said | October 11th 2016 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        am sure SHEEK was listening to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN singing GLORY DAYS

        ” Glory days well they’ll pass you by
        Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye
        Glory days, glory days ….”

    • Roar Guru

      October 11th 2016 @ 10:04am
      Ralph said | October 11th 2016 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Amazing stuff sheek.

      Not many wingers last.
      What a physical load the modern player has to carry.

      • October 11th 2016 @ 5:09pm
        CUW said | October 11th 2016 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

        ” Not many wingers last.”

        probably becoz running speed is something u lose faster than any other human capability. add the propensity to get injured in the legs in rugger to that .

        even though BOLT has been winning the 100 and 200 sprints, he has rarely run as fast as he did at the age of 25 ….

        • Roar Guru

          October 11th 2016 @ 9:17pm
          Harry Jones said | October 11th 2016 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

          Somebody please tell Habanero.

          Thanks, Sheek.

    • Roar Guru

      October 11th 2016 @ 12:50pm
      Machpants said | October 11th 2016 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

      Very interesting, even Tho I’m not wallaby fan 🙂

    • October 11th 2016 @ 1:11pm
      Crash Ball2 said | October 11th 2016 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      Really nice piece Sheek. Thanks.

    Have Your Say



    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Explore:
    ,