1981–82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland

The 1981–82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland was a series of matches played by the Australia national rugby union team (nicknamed the Wallabies). The touring team played twenty-three matches between October 1981 and January 1982, winning sixteen games, drawing one and losing six. The scheduled final game, against the Barbarians, was cancelled due to heavy snow.

1981–82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland
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The team played four international matches but were successful in only one, against Ireland. The Wallabies subsequently lost to Wales, Scotland and England. Although they scored more tries than their opponents in each of the four internationals, the home teams' goal-kicking proved more reliable in every case.

Outside the international programme, the Wallabies won only once in their opening four matches. They lost to the English Midlands Division in the opening match, were held to a draw by the English Northern Division in the third match and lost to Bridgend in the fourth match. They then beat Wales B (the national second-tier side) by a single point in the next game. The sixth game brought a much better performance with a 37–6 win over Pontypool. Their form improved somewhat after that and they lost only one of the remaining thirteen non-international matches, to Munster in Cork.

The tour experience would prove invaluable however for a number of brilliantly talented young players who in 1984 would lead the Wallabies to a Grand Slam tour victory. The Ella brothers, Steve Williams, Simon Poidevin, Andrew Slack, Brendan Moon, Michael Hawker and Roger Gould all in this 1981–82 tour gave a preview of great days ahead and of Australia's eventual coming of age as a world-class rugby nation.[1]

The squad's leadershipEdit

The tour manager was Sir Nicholas Shehadie a 30 Test veteran and former Wallaby captain. He was at the time Chairman of the New South Wales Rugby Union and President of Australian Rugby Union. He had recently stepped down after fifteen years in local government public office including three years as the 75th Lord Mayor of Sydney. The coach was Bob Templeton.

Tour captain was Tony Shaw, the first Queenslander since Bill McLean in 1947–48 to captain Australia in the UK. Shaw would later marry McLean's daughter and made the 81–82 tour alongside Bill's son Peter and nephew Paul. Mark Loane would captain the side in the Test against England when Shaw was dropped from the team following the Scottish Test. Shaw had retaliated recklessly to niggling from Scots player Bill Cuthbertson with a king-hit right in front of the referee. Shaw was to pay dearly for this as it would mark the end of his Test captaincy career.[2]

The tourEdit

The tour was dogged by appalling weather: cold, rain and snow. The Australian players brought up on firm, fast playing surfaces were shackled in ankle-deep mud.[1] After a training mishap hooker Bruce Malouf returned home with a broken leg without having played a match. Veteran half-back John Hipwell missed many games through persistent injuries.

So much had been expected of the Wallaby side and following the tour many reasons were offered up to explain the disappointing result of one international won from the four played. It was said that Paul McLean's kicking was not up to his usual standard; that the scrum lacked size and power; that Tony Shaw showed his pique in felling Cuthbertson and that the loss of Hipwell was a blow. Regardless of the reasons some bad luck was evident in the cancellation of the Barbarian clash due to heavy snow caused by the 1981–82 United Kingdom cold wave and perhaps symptomatic of much ill-luck on the tour. The journalist David Lord, who travelled with the squad, wrote venomously of a Queensland-New South Wales player rift in the team which if even half-true must have affected team morale.[3]

Matches of the tourEdit

Scores and results list Australia's points tally first.
Date Opponent Location Result Score
Match 1 17 October Midland Division Welford Road, Leicester Lost 10–16
Match 2 21 October Oxford University Iffley Road, Oxford Won 19–12
Match 3 24 October Northern Division County Ground, Gosforth Drew 6–6
Match 4 28 October Bridgend Brewery Field, Bridgend Lost 9–12
Match 5 31 October Wales B National Stadium, Cardiff Won 10–9
Match 6 4 November Pontypool Pontypool Park, Pontypool Won 37–6
Match 7 7 November London Division Twickenham, London Won 25–14
Match 8 11 November Devon and Cornwall County Ground Stadium, Exeter Won 49–6
Match 9 14 November Ulster Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast Won 12–6
Match 10 17 November Munster Musgrave Park, Cork Lost 6–15
Match 11 21 November IRELAND Lansdowne Road, Dublin Won 16–12
Match 12 25 November Leicester Welford Road, Leicester Won 18–15
Match 13 28 November Swansea St. Helen's, Swansea Won 12–3
Match 14 1 December Pontypridd Sardis Road, Pontypridd Won 6–3
Match 15 5 December WALES National Stadium, Cardiff Lost 13–18
Match 16 9 December Lancashire Vale of Lune RUFC, Lancaster Won 22–6
Match 17 12 December Glasgow Murrayfield, Edinburgh Won 31–0
Match 18 15 December Scottish North and Midlands Linksfield Stadium, Aberdeen Won 36–6
Match 19 19 December SCOTLAND Murrayfield, Edinburgh Lost 15–24
Match 20 22 December South and South-West Division Kingsholm, Gloucester Won 16–3
Match 21 29 December Combined Services Aldershot Won 33–9
Match 22 2 January ENGLAND Twickenham, London Lost 11–15
Match 23 5 January West Wales Stradey Park, Llanelli Won 19–3
Match 24 9 January Barbarians National Stadium, Cardiff Match Cancelled

Test matchesEdit


21 November 1981
Ireland   12–16   Australia
(12 – 4pg) Ward Report O'Connor (4 – 1t)
Gould (3 – 1fg)
McLean (9 – 3pg)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Attendance: 54,000[4]
Referee: Brian Anderson (SRU)

Australia's victory was based on a magnificent defensive display. Ireland's front five won more ball than Australia but Australia's tackling and speed to the loose ball proved decisive. Paul McLean opened the scoring with an 11th-minute penalty goal and Roger Gould doubled the lead soon after with a dropped goal. McLean extended the lead to 9–0 with a further penalty before Tony Ward's penalty goal finally put Ireland on the board. Just before half-time McLean's third penalty put Australia 12–3 ahead. Ward cut the lead to 12–6 with a second penalty but O'Connor scored the only try of the game to make it 16–6 to Australia. Ward reduced their lead again with two more penalties but Australia hung on to win 16–12.[5]

AUSTRALIA: Roger Gould, Michael O'Connor, Andrew Slack, Michael Hawker, Brendan Moon, Paul McLean, John Hipwell, John Meadows, Chris Carberry, Tony D'Arcy, Tony Shaw (c), Peter McLean, Simon Poidevin, Greg Cornelsen, Mark Loane.

IRELAND: Hugo MacNeill, Trevor Ringland, David Irwin, Paul Dean, Terry Kennedy, Tony Ward, Robbie McGrath, Phil Orr, John Cantrell, Mick Fitzpatrick, Brendan Foley, Donal Lenihan, John O'Driscoll, Fergus Slattery (c), Willie Duggan


5 December 1981
Wales   18–13   Australia
(4 – 1t) Moriarty
(3 – 1fg) Davies
(11 – 3pg, 1g) Evans
M. Cox (4 – 1t)
Slack (4 – 1t)
McLean (5 – 1pg, 1g)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Attendance: 56,000[6]
Referee: John West (IRFU)

Australia scored two tries to Wales's one but were beaten by a powerful performance by the Welsh pack, in which new cap Moriarty was outstanding. Goal-kicking was a significant difference between the two teams, with Paul McLean missing four of his six kicks at goal. Gwyn Evans opened the scoring with a penalty goal for Wales with Paul McLean equalising in kind soon after. Slack then scored a try after Holmes had been bundled off the ball after incorrectly calling for a mark, although McLean failed to convert. Evans scored a second penalty to make the half-time score 7–6 to Australia. In the second half, Mitchell Cox scored a try in the corner with McLean converting to make it 13–6. Wales replied almost immediately with a try from Moriarty after a 30-metre run from Rees and Evans' conversion made the score 13–12. Davies, captaining Wales for the first time, dropped a goal to put Wales ahead 15–13 before Evans' third penalty goal made the final score 18–13.[7]

AUSTRALIA: Roger Gould, Mitchell Cox, Andrew Slack (c), Michael Hawker (rep Mick Martin 48 min), Brendan Moon, Paul McLean, John Hipwell (rep Phillip Cox 65 min), Tony D'Arcy, Chris Carberry, Declan Curran, Tony Shaw (c), Peter McLean, Simon Poidevin, Greg Cornelsen, Mark Loane.

WALES: Gwyn Evans, Robert Ackerman, Patrick Daniels, Alun Donovan, Clive Rees, Gareth Davies (c), Terry Holmes, Ian Stephens, Alan Phillips, Graham Price, Richard Moriarty, Geoff Wheel, Mark Davies, Gareth Williams, Jeff Squire


19 December 1981
Scotland   24–15   Australia
(4 – 1t) Renwick
(3 – 1fg) Rutherford
(17 – 5pg,1g) Irvine
Moon (4 – 1t)
Poidevin (4 – 1t)
Slack (4 – 1t)
McLean (3 – 1pg)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Attendance: 39,213[8]
Referee: Roger Quittenton (RFU)

Disaster struck in the Scotland Test for Wallaby captain Tony Shaw. He was questioning referee Quittenton when the Scottish lock Bill Cuthbertson kept niggling him. Shaw turned and hit Cuthbertson with a right, flooring him in front of the referee and the TV cameras. That moment marked the end of his Wallaby captaincy.[2]

Australia scored three tries, all in the first half, to Scotland's one, but were beaten largely due to the fine goal-kicking of Andy Irvine, who scored a then-record 17 points for Scotland. Irvine scored three consecutive penalty goals to put Scotland 9–0 up but his charged-down kick allowed Poidevin to score an unconverted try. A second unconverted try for Moon followed, bringing the scores to 9–8, before Slack's try put Australia ahead for the first time at 12–9. McLean and Irvine traded penalties to make the score 15–12 to the Wallabies at half-time. Irvine levelled the scores at the start of the second half with his fifth penalty goal and Rutherford's dropped goal put Scotland back in the lead. Gould's failure to gather Rutherford's kick and a kindly bounce gave a try to Renwick near the posts which Irvine converted to give Scotland their 24–15 win. The game was clean apart from the Shaw-Cuthbertson incident.[9]

AUSTRALIA: Roger Gould, Mitchell Cox, Andrew Slack, Paul McLean, Brendan Moon, Mark Ella, Phillip Cox, John Meadows, Chris Carberry, Tony D'Arcy, Tony Shaw (c), Peter McLean, Simon Poidevin, Greg Cornelsen, Mark Loane.

SCOTLAND: Andy Irvine (c), Keith Robertson, Jim Renwick, David Johnston, Roger Baird, John Rutherford, Roy Laidlaw, Jim Aitken, Colin Deans, Iain Milne, Bill Cuthbertson, Alan Tomes, Jim Calder, David Leslie, Iain Paxton


2 January 1982
England   15–11   Australia
(4 – 1t) Jeavons
(2 – 1g) Dodge
(9 – 3pg) Rose
Moon (8 – 2t)
McLean (3 – 1pg)
Twickenham, London
Attendance: 60,000[10]
Referee: Alun Richards (WRU)

For the fourth time in as many internationals, Australia scored more tries than their opponents but were beaten by superior goal-kicking. The England pack gave a powerful display with an outstanding performance by Colclough.

Rose's two early penalty goals, with one by Paul McLean in between, gave England a 6–3 lead at half-time. Moon then scored after a loose ball was hacked downfield by the backs to put Australia 7–6 ahead going into the final quarter of the match, although McLean failed to convert. When Mark Ella was caught near his own line the England forwards drove on and Jeavons scored from the maul. Dodge kicked the conversion to put England 12–7 up. Rose extended the lead to 15–7 with his third penalty goal before Moon scored his second try, near the corner. McLean missed with the kick (his fourth miss from five attempts at goal) but it was too late to affect the final result, 15–11 to England.[11]

The match was also notable for the half-time appearance of the streaker, Erica Roe.

AUSTRALIA: Paul McLean, Michael O'Connor, Andrew Slack (c), Michael Hawker, Brendan Moon, Mark Ella, John Hipwell, John Meadows, Chris Carberry, Tony D'Arcy, Steve Williams, Peter McLean, Simon Poidevin, Greg Cornelsen, Mark Loane (c).

ENGLAND: Marcus Rose, John Carleton, Clive Woodward, Paul Dodge, Mike Slemen (rep Nick Stringer 63 min), Huw Davies, Steve Smith, Colin Smart, Peter Wheeler, Gary Pearce, Bill Beaumont (c), Maurice Colclough, Nick Jeavons, Peter Winterbottom, Bob Hesford

Other matchesEdit

Midland DivisionEdit

17 October
Midland Division 16–10 Australia
Try: Holdstock, Jeavons
Con: Rose
Pen: Rose (2)
Try: Moon
Pen: Paul McLean (2)
Welford Road, Leicester
Referee: Clive Norling

Oxford UniversityEdit

22 October
Oxford University 12–19 Australia
Try: Wyatt
Con: Barnes
Pen: Barnes (2)
Try: Roche (2), Grigg, Gary Ella
Drop: Mark Ella
Iffley Road, Oxford
Referee: Brian Anderson

Northern DivisionEdit

24 October
Northern Division 6–6 Australia
Pen: Spaven
Drop: Slemen
Pen: Paul McLean (2)
County Ground, Gosforth
Referee: Ken Rowlands


28 October
Bridgend 12–9 Australia
Pen: Pearce (4)
Try: Meadows
Con: Hawker
Pen: Mark Ella
Brewery Field, Bridgend
Referee: David Burnett

Wales BEdit

31 October
Wales B 9–10 Australia
Pen: Wyatt (2)
Drop: Dacey
Try: Moon, Slack
Con: Paul McLean
National Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Laurie Prideaux


4 November
Pontypool 6–37 Australia
Pen: Lewis (2)
Try: Martin (2), Cornelsen, Shaw, Slack
Con: Paul McLean (4)
Pen: Paul McLean (2)
Drop: Paul McLean
Pontypool Park, Pontypool
Referee: Roger Quittenton

London DivisionEdit

7 November
London Division 14–25 Australia
Try: McGregor, Bailey
Pen: Greenhalgh (2)
Try: Moon (2), Mark Ella
Con: Ella, Paul McLean
Pen: Paul McLean (2), Mark Ella
Twickenham, London

Devon and CornwallEdit

11 November
Devon and Cornwall 6-49 Australia
Pen: Martin (2)
Try: Moon (3), Parker (2), M. Cox, D'Arcy, Slack
Con: Paul McLean (7)
Pen: Paul McLean
County Ground, Exeter
Referee: G. Inglis


14 November
Ulster 6-12 Australia
Pen: Goodrich (2)
Try: Paul McLean
Con: Paul McLean
Pen: Paul McLean (2)
Ravenhill, Belfast
Referee: W. Jones


17 November
Munster 15-6 Australia
Try: Derham
Con: Ward
Pen: Ward (2)
Drop: Ward
Try: Grigg
Con: O'Connor
Musgrave Park, Cork
Referee: Alan Welsby


25 November
Leicester 15-18 Australia
Pen: Hare (2)
Drop: Hare (2), Cusworth
Try: Martin
Con: Paul McLean
Pen: Paul McLean (3)
Drop: Mark Ella
Welford Road, Leicester
Referee: M. D. M. Rea


28 November
Swansea 3-12 Australia
Pen: Dacey
Try: Gould, M. Cox, Moon
St. Helen's, Swansea
Referee: John West


1 December
Pontypridd 3-6 Australia
Pen: Hodgkinson
Pen: Mark Ella (2)
Sardis Road, Pontypridd
Referee: Tony Trigg


9 December
Lancashire 6-22 Australia
Pen: O'Brien (2)
Try: Mathers, M. Cox, Loane
Con: Paul McLean (2)
Pen: Paul McLean
Drop: Mark Ella
Powder House Lane, Lancaster
Referee: A. Richards


12 December
Glasgow 0-31 Australia
Try: Glen Ella (2), Lucas (2), Mark Ella, Grigg, Martin
Pen: Mark Ella
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Colin High

Scottish North and MidlandsEdit

12 December
North and Midlands 6-36 Australia
Pen: Irvine (2)
Try: Grigg (4), Roche, Gould
Con: Paul McLean (3)
Pen: Paul McLean (2)
Linksfield Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Fred Howard

South and South-West DivisionEdit

22 December
South and South-West Division 3-16 Australia
Drop: Horton
Try: Mark Ella, Martin, Lucas
Con: Mark Ella (2)
Kingsholm, Gloucester
Referee: K. C. Parfitt

Combined ServicesEdit

29 December
Combined Services 9-33 Australia
Pen: Price (3)
Try: Mark Ella (2), Moon, Meadows, Peter McLean, Greg Cornelsen
Con: Gould (5)
Pen: Gould
Referee: A. Fisher

West WalesEdit

5 January
West Wales 3–19 Australia
Pen: Evans
Try: M. Cox, Martin, Mark Ella
Con: Gould (2)
Pen: Gould
Stradey Park, Llanelli
Referee: M. J. Morgan


Touring partyEdit


Tour appearances include appearances as a replacement, which are shown in brackets e.g. (1R)

Name Tests Club Career Caps Tour Apps Position Pts
Roger Gould 3 Wests Brisbane 25 12 Full back 31
Glen Ella 0 Randwick RUFC 4 7 Full back 8
Andrew Slack 4 Brisbane Souths 39 17 (2R) Three-quarter 20
Brendan Moon 4 Brisbane Brothers 35 16 (1R) Three-quarter 48
Michael Martin 1 Parramatta Two Blues 6 13 (1R) Three-quarter 24
Peter Grigg 0 Cities – Townsville 25 13 Three-quarter 28
Gary Ella 0 Randwick RUFC 6 5 Three-quarter 4
Michael O'Connor 2 Brisbane Norths 12 9 Three-quarter 6
Michael Hawker 3 Sydney University 25 12 (1R) Three-quarter 2
Mitchell Cox 1 Manly RUFC 2 12 (1R) Three-quarter 20
Mark Ella 2 Randwick RUFC 25 14 Half 50
Paul McLean 4 Brisbane Brothers 30 15 (1R) Half 118
John Hipwell 3 Newcastle Waratahs 36 7 Half 0
Philip Cox 2 Manly RUFC 16 8 (1R) Half 0
Anthony Parker 0 University of Queensland 3 10 (1R) Half 8
Simon Poidevin 4 University of NSW 59 13 Forward 4
Peter McLean 4 Easts Brisbane 16 12 Forward 4
Tony Shaw (c) 3 Brisbane Brothers 36 14 Forward 4
Mark Loane 4 University of Queensland 28 17 Forward 4
Stan Pilecki 0 Wests Brisbane 18 9 Forward 0
Greg Cornelsen 4 Brisbane Norths 25 11 Forward 8
Tony D'Arcy 3 Brisbane Brothers 10 15 (1R) Forward 4
John Meadows 2 Wests Brisbane 22 12 Forward 8
Chris Carberry 4 GPS Brisbane 13 12 Forward 0
Steve Williams 1 Manly RUFC 28 12 (1R) Forward 0
Bruce Malouf 0 Randwick RUFC 1 0 Forward 0
Chris Roche 0 Brisbane Norths 17 12 Forward 12
Lance Walker 0 Parramatta Two Blues 2 10 (1R) Forward 0
Declan Curran 1 Sydney University 5 11 Forward 0
Duncan Hall 0 University of Queensland 15 11 Forward 0
Peter Lucas 0 St George Rugby Union 3 8 Forward 12
Mick Mathers 0 Eastwood Rugby Club 2 9 (1R) Forward 4


  1. ^ a b Shehadie p175
  2. ^ a b Howell p207
  3. ^ Howell p232
  4. ^ "Ireland v Australia at Lansdowne Road". ESPN. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  5. ^ Rothmans p23-24
  6. ^ "Wales v Australia at Cardiff". ESPN. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  7. ^ Rothmans p25-26
  8. ^ "Scotland v Australia at Murrayfield". ESPN. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  9. ^ Rothmans p27-28
  10. ^ "England v Australia at Twickenham". ESPN. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  11. ^ Rothmans p 28-29


  • Howell, Max (2005) Born to Lead – Wallaby Test Captains, Celebrity Books, Auckland NZ
  • Shehadie, Nicholas (2003) A Life Worth Living, Simon & Schuster Australia
  • Jenkins, Vivian (1983). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1982–83. Rothmans Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-907574-13-0.