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

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.

1957–58 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and France
36 17 03 16
Test match
05 00 00 05
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1

The squad's leadershipEdit

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 detailsEdit

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 TourEdit

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

Test matchesEdit


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 partyEdit


Name Tests Club Career caps Tour Apps Position Pts
Terry Curley 5 Newcastle Wanderers 34 Full back 3
Ken Donald 4 Queensland University 9 Three-quarter 33
Alan Morton 1 Randwick 11 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 St George 1 16 Three-quarter
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 Eastern Suburbs Forward 0
Norman Hughes 5 Sydney University 14 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 Randwick 9 24 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
Stewart Scotts Eastern Suburbs Forward
Jim Phipps 11 7 Three-quarter

The team's most experienced centre three quarter Jim Phipps ( 11 caps prior to tour) played 7 of the first 9 games but broke his leg against Glasgow and Edinburgh and did not play again on tour.

The Wallabies played a match in Perth on the way to England during which lock Stewart Scotts broke a wrist and feared he would be left at home. Management decided the six weeks boat trip would give him sufficient time to recover, a decision vindicated by his playing several mid- week games during the tour.



  1. ^ Howell p. 154
  2. ^ Howell p. 158
  3. ^ Howell p. 151
  4. ^ Howell p. 104
  5. ^ a b c Shehadie pp. 95–102
  6. ^ a b c "Scrum.com November on this day". Scrum.com. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  7. ^ London Counties program
  8. ^ "Pontypool program". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  9. ^ Newport program
  10. ^ Leinster program
  11. ^ statistics
  12. ^ Glasgow/Edinburgh program
  13. ^ Sth of Scotland program
  14. ^ "Scrum.com December on this day". Scrum.com. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Western Counties (Eng) v Australia rugby match 1957".
  16. ^ Combined Services program
  17. ^ Aberavon program
  18. ^ Abertillery program
  19. ^ Sth West Counties program
  20. ^ Nth East counties program
  21. ^ Midland Counties program
  22. ^ Barbarians program
  23. ^ Planet-Rugby.com Archived 10 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 17 September 2009.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Howell


  • Howell, Max (2005) Born to Lead – Wallaby Test Captains, Celebrity Books, Auckland NZ
  • Shehadie, Nicholas (2003) A Life Worth Living, Simon & Schuster Australia

Online referencesEdit

Jackson's try from Planet-Rugby.com