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Kangaroos vs Kiwis by the numbers – with a twist

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Roar Guru
1st April, 2022
31

Here’s a strange, and totally unnecessary, little article to ponder as you plan the day ahead. A team of Australian Test players where the jersey number they wore for Australia, on at least one occasion, matches the total number of Tests that they played for Australia.

I warned you that it was strange and unnecessary.

1. Brett Stewart

It’s hard to believe that a player with Stewart’s talent only played one Test match, and that was in 2007 when he wore the No.1 jersey in Australia’s 58-0 thrashing of New Zealand.

2. Larry Corowa

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The Balmain speedster played two Tests against Great Britain in the 1979 Ashes series, scoring one try.

3. Chris Close

Despite being a Queensland Origin institution, he only tasted Test football three times, and all of those appearances came in the 1985 series against NZ where he partnered Mal Meninga in the centres in the first two Tests, before coming off the bench in the third Test.

4. Dylan Walker

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The then-Souths centre was in pretty hot form in 2014 when he was selected to play for Australia in all four games of the Four Nations tournament.

Dylan Walker makes a break.

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

5. Akuila Uate

The Newcastle flyer scored two tries on debut for Australia against NZ and went on to play two more Tests against the Kiwis and two against England.

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6. Cliff Lyons

There were some pretty good five-eighths around when Lyons was at his peak in the early 1990s, and that saw his Test career limited to just six matches, the first of which came in the second Test of the 1990 Ashes series.

7. Mark Murray

The tough little Queenslander played the first three of his seven Tests either off the bench or at five-eighth before finally grabbing the 7 jersey alongside Wally Lewis in the first Test of the 1984 Ashes series.

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8. Jordan McLean

McLean has played eight Tests, for just one loss, but has only worn the 8 jersey once, and that was in the 2017 World Cup game against France.

9. George Peponis

The Canterbury hooker played nine Tests for Australia, including five undefeated Tests as captain.

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10. John O’Neill

The South Sydney and Manly enforcer played ten Tests for Australia but only wore the 10 jersey once, and that was against France in 1973 when he packed down with John Lang and Arthur Beetson in the Australian front row.

11. Gary Stevens

Stevens was a tough player and one of the best defenders in the game. He played 11 Tests for Australia after making his Test debut off the bench against NZ in the 1972 World Cup.

12. Matt Gillett

Gillett was one of the best back rowers to come out of Queensland and played 20 Origins for the Maroons. He wore the 12 jersey in every one of his 12 Test matches.

13. Corey Parker

The Queensland legend played at lock in his Test debut for Australia against Wales in the 2011 Four Nations tournament.

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Certainly a useful team with a great spine, a tough pack and lots of strike power out wide. All they need now is someone to play against, so here’s a Kiwi Test side picked using the same criteria.

1. Anthony Smith

He only had the one Test for NZ and it was their 1962 victory over Great Britain at Carlaw Park by 19 points to nil.

2. Dick Uluave

He wore the 2 jersey in his Test debut against Great Britain in 1975, and crossed for one of NZ’s two tries.

3. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Better known in the NRL as a dynamic fullback for the Raiders, he’s worn the 3 jersey in each of his three Tests for NZ.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

4. Iva Ropati

A rugby league journeyman who’s worn the 3, 4 and 14 jerseys in his four Tests for NZ.

5. Jamayne Isaako

A handy outside back and goal kicker still plying his trade in the NRL who has worn the 5 jersey in four of his five Tests.

6. Arthur Kay

We had to go back to the 1930s to find Arthur, who played five-eighth, wing, and centre in his Test career.

7. Bob Irvine

A great little Kiwi halfback from the mid-1960s who played six of his seven Tests with the No.7 on his back.

8. Adrian Shelford

A tough-as-teak front rower who spent his best years in the UK and died far too young at the age of just 39.

9. Monty Betham

A Kiwi hard man who played just one of his nine Tests at hooker, when NZ defeated Australia by 30 points to 16 in 2003.

10. Patrick Smith

A NZ front row stalwart in the years following WWII after making the switch from rugby union.

11. Matt Rua

A former centre who forged a strong career with Melbourne and played 11 Tests for NZ at the turn of the century.

12. Alex Glenn

A Broncos stalwart and very good back rower who played just one of his 12 Tests in the 12 jersey.

13. Bronson Harrison

Played just one of his 13 Tests at the back of the scrum and that was his debut Test in 2005 when the Kiwis ran out winners 38-22.

The Kiwis also come up with a handy side, and don’t forget that each squad have played exactly the same number of Tests.

Who wins?

My Aussie bias says the Kangaroos win this one as they have far too much star power for the Kiwis.

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