Tom Richards (rugby union)
|T. J. Richards|
|Full name||Thomas James Richards|
|Date of birth||29 April 1882|
|Place of birth||Emmaville, New South Wales|
|Date of death||25 September 1935(aged 53)|
|Place of death||Brisbane, Queensland|
|Rugby union career|
|Years||Club / team|
|Charters Towers Waratahs
Charters Towers Natives
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
Thomas James "Rusty" Richards MC (29 April 1882 – 25 September 1935) was an Australian military officer and national representative rugby union player, who was born at Vegetable Creek, Emmaville in New South Wales. Richards was the only player to ever play for both Australia and the British Lions, thus, the Tom Richards Trophy is named in his honor. He is an inductee to the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame.
Richard's Cornish father emigrated to Australia during the Gold Rush from Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Nicknamed Rusty, he grew up in the gold mining town of Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. His interest in the rugby game developed when a New South Wales touring side visited his town. He started training and playing rugby, and went on to represent Queensland. His family moved to South Africa in 1905.
He continued playing rugby in South Africa, playing a small number of games for the Transvaal Rugby Union in the domestic Currie Cup competition. He subsequently travelled to England where he continued playing rugby in the county championships. He soon returned to Australia and was selected for the Wallabies' 1908 tour of the United Kingdom.
He played in both Test matches of the tour and was Australia's first try-scorer in the Test against Wales. The touring party took part in the 1908 Summer Olympics that were being held in London. The team won gold with Richards again scoring a try, over a Cornish side representing Great Britain. Richards thus became an Olympic Gold medallist.
He returned to South Africa after his touring duties. During a visit from the British Lions, Richards earned a cap as a replacement. He qualified through his time played for Bristol in England. He returned to Australia and was selected to tour to the United States and Canada with Australia in 1912. He played at break-away in the sole Test of that tour - the November 1912 clash against the United States at Berkeley - and scored a try in that match. Soon after, he signed with Toulouse as a player and manager.
War service and later life
Richards enlisted in the AIF on 26 August 1914 and in October sailed for Egypt on the Transport Euripides with the 1st Field Ambulance. Landing at Gallipoli on the morning of 25 April 1915, he served as a stretcher-bearer, and was mentioned in divisional orders in July for 'acts of gallantry'.
He returned to Egypt in January 1916 and in March left for the Western Front. On 25 November Corporal Richards was commissioned Second Lieutenant and on 2 December transferred to the 1st Infantry Battalion. In May 1917 at the Battle of Arras near Bullecourt he led a nineteen-man bombing party. He was promoted Lieutenant in June and awarded the Military Cross in August. He was evacuated to England twice in 1917 and again in May 1918, with his back and shoulders damaged by a bomb blast. Having spent some four months in South Africa en route, in February 1919 he returned to Sydney where his AIF appointment was terminated on 3 November.
|Olympic medal record|
|Men's Rugby union|
|Gold||1908 London||Team competition|
Legacy & accolades
The Tom Richards Cup is the trophy that is played for between the British & Irish Lions and Australia. In 2005 he was honoured as one of the inaugural five inductees into the Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame. Upon his induction Australian Rugby Union President Paul McLean commented: "late Tom Richards was an extraordinary character whom The Times described in 1908 as the first man to be picked for Earth if we were ever to play Mars!" 
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- "Scrum.com player profile of Rusty Richards". Scrum.com. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
- "Richards, Thomas James (Tom) (1882 - 1935)". www.adb.online.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Richards,Tom ARU Hall of Fame". aru.rugby.com.au. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Rugby Heaven
- "Tom Richards Trophy". rugby.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2010.