1957–58 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and France

1957–58 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and France
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Between late 1957 and March 1958 the Australia national rugby union team – the Wallabies – conducted a world tour encompassing Britain, Ireland, France and Canada on which they played five Tests and thirty-one minor tour matches. The Wallabies won 17, lost 16 and drew three of their games in total. They lost all five Tests of the tour.

The squad's leadership

Versatile back Dick Tooth had made 10 Test appearances for Australia before the tour and had captained the Wallabies well in two 1957 Tests against the All Blacks. Howell expresses a view that it was inexplicable that Tooth was not selected for the tour and partially blames this as cause of the disappointing tour result.[1] However Howell writes that Bob Davidson possessed outstanding qualities to make him a natural touring captain. He was a born leader of men, was immensely popular, he met people well, was highly intelligent and spoke well in public. He played in 32 of the 41 tour games and did everything in his power to make the tour a success.[2]

Veteran second-rower Alan Cameron had captained the Wallabies in 18 matches in 1955 and 1956 but was no longer supreme in his position nor guaranteed of Test selection. However he made a superb contribution to the tour playing in 22 matches including one Test and captained the side in seven mid-week matches[3]

As per tradition, Assistant Manager Dave Cowper assumed the coaching duties. Howell writes that in spite of the mounting losses, Cowper "ever the gentleman, never criticised the players, even when he had every right to....he personified the true amateur, playing always to the rules with a strict code of ethics"[4] Squad member Nicholas Shehadie was less complimentary in his published recollections suggesting Cowper had limited imagination as a coach with "our training devoid of variety which made it very tedious."[5]

Tour details

The squad was on tour for eight months in total and travelled to England by ship. Shehadie reports that the team issue consisted of " two blazers, a pair of grey slacks, four green ties with a hand-painted wallaby on each, a heavy pullover and a track suit. In addition, each player received one pair of boots – with another pair to be issued in England – sandshoes for training on the ship, a heavy woollen scarf and tablets to counteract sea-sickness, Vitamin C tablets to counteract colds in Britain and a packet of tranquiliser tablets to be used at the player's own discretion"'[5] He recalls that the squad's pocket money was 10s a day, up from 5s a decade before.

Matches of the Tour

Scores and results list Australia's points tally first.
Date Opponent Location Result Score
1 6 November England Southern Counties[6] Hove Won 29–5
2 10 November England Oxford University RFC[6] Iffley Road, Oxford Lost 6–12
3 13 November England Cambridge University R.U.F.C.[6] Grange Road, Cambridge Lost 3–13
4 16 November England London Counties[7] Twickenham Draw 9–9
5 20 November Wales Pontypool & Cross Keys[8] Pontypool Park, Pontypool Win 14–6
6 23 November Wales Newport[9] Rodney Parade, Newport Lost 0–11
7 27 November Republic of Ireland Leinster[10] Lansdowne Road, Dublin Won 10–8
8 30 November Ulster Ulster[11] Ravenhill, Belfast Won 9–0
9 4 December Scotland Glasgow & Edinburgh[12] Old Anniesland, Glasgow Won 9–3
10 7 December Scotland South of Scotland[13] Mansfield Park, Hawick Won 12–6
11 10 December Wales Llanelli Stradey Park, Llanelli Won 9–5
12 14 December Wales Cardiff[14] Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Lost 11–14
13 18 December England Western Counties[15] Bristol Lost 8–9
14 21 December England Leicestershire & East Midlands Welford Road Leicester Won 18–3
15 26 December United Kingdom Combined Services[16] Twickenham Won 16–11
17 28 December Wales Aberavon & Neath[17] Talbot Athletic Ground, Port Talbot Won 5–3
18 4 January Wales Wales Cardiff Arms Park Lost 3–9
19 8 January Wales Abertillery & Ebbw Vale[18] The Park, Abertillery Lost 5–6
20 11 January Wales Swansea St Helen's Ground, Swansea Won 12–6
21 18 January Republic of Ireland Ireland Lansdowne Road Lost 6–9
22 21 January Republic of Ireland Munster Thomond Park, Limerick Draw 3–3
23 25 January England South West Counties[19] Home Park, Plymouth Drew 3–3
24 28 January England South East Counties Portsmouth won 6–0
25 1 February England England Twickenham Stadium Lost 6–9
26 5 February England North Eastern Counties[20] County Ground, Gosforth Won 10–0
27 8 February England North Western Counties County Ground, Blundellsands lost 3–6
28 11 February Scotland North of Scotland Aberdeen won 6–3
29 15 February Scotland Scotland Murrayfield Stadium Lost 8–12
30 19 February England Midland Counties[21] Highfield Road, Coventry Lost 3–8
31 22 February Barbarians[22] Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Lost 6–11
32 9 March France France Stade de Columbes Lost 0–19
33 15 March Canada British Columbia Vancouver Lost 3–15
34 20 March Canada University of BC Vancouver Won 31–6

Test matches


4 January 1958
Wales  9–3  Australia
(3 −1t) Collins
(3 – 1pg) TJ Davies
(3 – 1dg) James
Miller (3 – 1t)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Attendance: 55,000
Referee: AI Dickie (SRU)

AUSTRALIA: Terry Curley, Roderick Phelps, Kenneth Donald, Jim Lenehan, Jack Potts, Arthur Summons, Des Connor, Nicholas Shehadie, Norman Hughes, Peter Fenwicke, Tony Miller, David Emanuel, John Thornett, James Brown, Robert Davidson (captain)

WALES: Terry Davies, John Collins, Gordon Wells, Cyril Davies, Ray Williams, Carwyn James, Wynne Evans, Don Devereux, Bryn Meredith, Ray Prosser, Rhys Williams, Roddy Evans, Robin Davies, Clem Thomas (captain), John Faull


18 January 1958
Ireland  9–6  Australia
Dawson (3 – 1t)
Henderson (3 – 1t)
Smith (3 – 1pg)
Phelps (3 – 1t)
Summons (3 – 1t)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 33,000
Referee: WJ Evans (WRU)

Shehadie writes in his memoirs that his response to Noel Murphy continually blocking his vision in the scrum was to deal him a punch in an ensuing scrum. He recalls that the Lansdowne Rd crowd booed the Australian team and that press afterwards singled out Shehadie for his brutal play. He suggests that Dave Cowper then determined to make an example of him and true to his word did not select him in another Test of the tour.[5] It was therefore Shehadie's last Test match, as it would also be for Australia's other forward veteran Alan Cameron.

AUSTRALIA: Terry Curley, Kenneth Donald, Saxon White, Jack Potts, Roderick Phelps, Arthur Summons, Des Connor, Nicholas Shehadie, James Brown, Robert Davidson (captain), Alan Cameron, David Emanuel, John Thornett Norman Hughes, Peter Fenwicke

IRELAND: Patrick Berkery, Tony O'Reilly, Noel Henderson (c), Dave Hewitt, Cecil Pedlow, Jackie Kyle, Andy Mulligan, Patrick O'Donoghue, Ronnie Dawson, Gordon Wood, James Stevenson, Bill Mulcahy, James Donaldson, Noel Murphy, James Kavanagh Alan Cameron


1 February 1958
England  9–6  Australia
(3 – 1t) Phillips
(3 – 1t) Jackson
(3 – 1pg) Hetherington
Curley (3 – 1fg)
Lenehan (3 – 1pg)
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 60,000
Referee: RC Williams (IRFU)

This was the day Twickenham booed, a rare sound at the august ground. But when big Jim Lenehan tackled Phil Horrocks-Taylor late and so heavily that he was taken off the field, the crowd were annoyed. Every time Lenehan touched the ball, the crowd booed.

The scores were 3–0 at half time, but soon Malcolm Phillips scored a great try and then the elegant Terry Curley gave the Wallabies the lead with a drop goal. When injury time came the score was 6-all. Then came the only try of the match by brilliant Peter Jackson. Jackson out on the wing, got a pass on the Wallaby 25. He was not the fastest of wings – but he was deceptive and knew sidestep, swerve and hand-off, and used them as deadly weapons. He swerved away from Rod Phelps and handed him off. He moved to cut in, plonking Terry Curley onto the wrong foot as he beat him on the outside. Phelps was gaining, the line was approaching, Phelps was faster and Jackson dived with Phelps on his back.[23]

It was England's first post-war Test victory over one of the three Southern powers.

AUSTRALIA: Terry Curley, Roderick Phelps, Kenneth Donald, Jim Lenehan, Saxon White, Arthur Summons, Des Connor, Kevin Ryan, Norman Hughes, Peter Fenwicke, Tony Miller, David Emanuel, Geoffrey Vaughan, James Brown, Robert Davidson (captain)

ENGLAND: James Hetherington, Peter Jackson, Malcolm Phillips, Jeff Butterfield, Peter Thompson, Phil Horrocks-Taylor, Dickie Jeeps, Ned Ashcroft, Ronald Syrett, Peter Robbins, David Marques, John Currie, Ron Jacobs, Eric Evans (captain), George Hastings


15 February 1958
Scotland  12–8  Australia
Stevenson (3 – 1t)
Weatherstone (3 – 1t)
Smith (6 – 2pg)
Donald (3 – 1t)
Thornett (3 – 1t)
Lenehan (2 – 1g)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 45,000
Referee: RC Williams (IRFU)

AUSTRALIA: Terry Curley, Kenneth Donald, Jim Lenehan, Saxon White, Roderick Phelps, Arthur Summons, Des Connor, Geoffrey Vaughan, James Brown, Robert Davidson (captain), Tony Miller, David Emanuel, Eddie Purkiss, John Thornett, Norman Hughes

SCOTLAND: Robin Chisholm, Arthur Smith (captain), George Stevenson, James Docherty, Thomas Weatherstone, Gordon Waddell, Tremayne Rodd, Hugh McLeod, Norman Bruce, Tom Elliot, Malcolm Swan, Hamish Kemp, Ken Smith, Adam Robson, Jim Greenwood


9 March 1958
France  19–0  Australia
(3 −1t) Crauste
(3 −1t) Quaglio
(3 −1t) Rancoule
(3 – 1dg) Prat
(7 – 2,g1dg) Labazuy
Stade Colombes, Paris
Attendance: 14,236
Referee: NM Parkes (RFU)

AUSTRALIA: Terry Curley, Alan Morton, Jim Lenehan, Roderick Phelps, Otto Fox, Ron Harvey, Des Connor, Geoffrey Vaughan, James Brown, Robert Davidson (captain), Tony Miller, David Emanuel, Ken Yanz, John Thornett, Norman Hughes

FRANCE: Michel Vannier, Henir Rancolue, Maurice Prat, Roger Martine, Pierre Tarricq, Antoince Labazuy, Pierre Lacroix, Aldo Quaglio, Robert Vigier, Alfred Roques, Lucien Mias, Michel Celaya (captain), Michel Crauste, Henir Domec, Jean Barthe

Touring party


Name Tests Club Career caps Tour Apps Position Pts
Terry Curley 5 Newcastle Wanderers Full back 3
Ken Donald 4 Queensland University Three-quarter
Alan Morton 1 Three-quarter
Rod Phelps 5 Northern Suburbs Three-quarter 3
Saxon White 3 Sydney University Three-quarter
Jack Potts 2 Sydney University Three-quarter 0
Jim Lenehan 4 Wagga Wagga 24 32[24] Three-quarter 114[24]
Otto Fox 1 1 Three-quarter 1 Ron Harvey 1 Newcastle Waratahs Half-back
Arthur Summons 4 Gordon RFC 10 Half-back
Des Connor 5 Brisbane Brothers 27 27[24] Half-back
Don Logan 1 Gordon RFC 1 Half-back
Bob Davidson (c) 5 Gordon RFC 13 32[24] Forward
Kevin Ryan 1 Brisbane Brothers 5 Forward 0
Alan Cameron 1 St George RUFC 20 22[24] Forward
John Thornett 4 Sydney University 37 18[24] Forward
David Emanuel 5 Forward 0
Norman Hughes 5 Forward 0
Geoffrey Vaughan 3 Melbourne University Rugby Union 6 Forward
Peter Fenwicke 2 Walcha 6 19[24] Forward
Ron Meadows 0 Newcastle Wanderers Forward
Jim Brown 5 Forward
Nicholas Shehadie 2 Randwick 30 24[24] Forward
Tony Miller 4 Manly RUFC 41 Forward
Ken Yanz 1 Gordon RFC 1 Forward
Edwin Purkiss 1 Newcastle Wanderers 3 Forward
Bill Gunther 0 Molong 15 Forward




Online references

Jackson's try from Planet-Rugby.com

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