Roger Gould (rugby union)

Roger Gould (born 4 April 1957) is a former rugby union football player, having played fullback for both the Australian Wallabies and the Queensland Reds. He first played for Queensland in 1978 and for Australia in 1980. His last match for Australia was in the 1987 World Cup. Gould's career was cut short due to injury.

Roger Gould
Birth nameRoger Gould
Date of birth (1957-04-04) 4 April 1957 (age 65)
Height193 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight95 kg (209 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fullback
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1980–1987 Australia 25 (86)

In 2009 Gould was elected to the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame[1] and was also added to the Queensland team of the century.[2]

Rugby careerEdit

Former Australian winger David Campese in On a Wing and a Prayer wrote of Gould that:

My best full-back would be Roger Gould. He was one of the greatest, a colossus who, although often bothered by injury, was a fantastic player when fit and firing on all cylinders. He was very big, could kick a ball like a mule and was totally safe and confident under the high ball. His physique along commanded respect and you could rely on Roger.[3]

Campese further writes in Campo: Still Entertaining that:

He was a great player, and I don't use the word loosely. He was also exceptionally helpful when I first came into the side. Roger was a big bloke for a fullback, had the most massive calf muscles I have seen on any footballer, and could punt a ball into a different post code. But he was also an attacking weapon from fullback like we have probably not had since, until Chris Latham brought that same sense of involvement to the position. He timed his runs into the backline perfectly and, because of his size, caused panic in rival defences. His own defence was sure and safe. Gould really was the complete fullback package.[4]

Former Australian five-eighth Mark Ella writes in Path to Victory that:

Not only is Roger Gould the biggest punter of a ball in world rugby, he's the best fullback I've ever seen. Roger is just dynamite. He's strong, safe and although he doesn't look that fast, his long, loping stride can be very deceptive when he gets steam up. Just having Roger there takes the pressure off you. He's a terrific defender, too. Because of his size, he crunches people.

I relied on Roger a lot. He could see if your angles to attack weren't right. Things like that.

Whenever I played against Queensland, we tried to keep the ball away from him. You don't put up too many high kicks to him because he's so safe. Long balls are out. Roger simply sends them soaring back with interest deep into your half. He's cool, too. Roger has been around and knows exactly what's going on with his life. Nothing worries him. Things can be falling apart around us, but Roger stays as cool as ever. When the hassles occurred over his trip to South Africa, he stuck to his point of view. Nothing would change it.[5]

Former Australian coach Alan Jones has called Gould the best player he ever coached. In Wallaby Gold: The History of Australian Test Rugby Jones is recorded as saying that, "...my best player, I think, was Roger Gould. If your defensive line is going to hold up, the opposition are going to roof it, and you've just got to have someone who's absolutely rock-solid. Gould was a flawless. He was a freak. He did did wonderful things."[6]

In Ella: The Definitive Biography Alan Jones is documented as saying:

There is not a player, in my opinion, since 1984 who approximates Mark Ella. The one player in my team - there are two - Lynagh did a phenomenal amount for us. But Roger Gould was also a freak. Mark was the creative freak in a way. Roger was the defensive (freak). For example, you are leading 10-9 in the Test and they've got the ball. We can organise ourselves to make the defence stand up, but what if they start roofing back? Who do you want there? Gould. Equally, you are down 10-9 and we've got a bit of football. Of all the players in the history of the game, who do you want? Ella.[7]

Former Australian flanker Simon Poidevin in For Love Not Money wrote of Gould that, 'I say emphatically here and now that Gould is the best fullback I’ve ever played with or against, and I’d never leave him out of any side for which he was available. As a fullback, he was without peer.'[8]

Former Australian dual-international Michael O'Connor in The Best of Both Worlds wrote of Gould that, 'The fact is, Roger Gould is the best fullback I’ve ever played with. He would take the bomb ninety-nine times out of one hundred and he wouldn’t just take it, he would hurt people while he was doing it. Usually, you feel confident about creaming a fullback taking a high ball, but if you tried it with Roger, you would end up with six studs in your face. He was so strong and aggressive. He put his foot up and he just couldn’t be moved.’[9]

In Path to Victory rugby writer Terry Smith describes Gould thus:

Surely one of the greatest punt-kickers in all of rugby history, thundering Roger Gould's only weakness is an alarming proneness to injury. On successive tours of New Zealand and Argentina, he played only one and a half games. Fortunately Gould came through the 1984 British Isles tour with nothing worse than a broken nose. The Wallabies involved him in a vast amount of play, and he responded to be a Test hero. The Queenslander's ability to make his spiraling kicks hang in the air until the men arrive on the catcher was a feature of the tour. And when Michael Lynagh lost his kicking touch, Gould responded with five goals from seven straight-on toe-kick attempts to help sink Wales.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Queensland Sport Hall of Fame". Qsport.org.au. Retrieved 24 September 2016. A big man with the thumping boot, he played all over the world in a career highlighted by the unbeaten Grand Slam Tour of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland...
  2. ^ "Queensland Team of the Century". Redsrugby.com.au. Retrieved 24 September 2016. Roger Gould had speed and acceleration to complement his huge frame, making him a menace to opposition backlines when he joined the line on attack.
  3. ^ Campese & Bills 1991, p. 173-174.
  4. ^ Campese 2003, p. 208.
  5. ^ Ella & Smith 1987, p. 134.
  6. ^ Jenkins 2003, p. 290.
  7. ^ Harris & Ella 2007, p. 92.
  8. ^ Poidevin & Webster 1992, p. 63.
  9. ^ Harris, Bret, Michael O'Connor: The Best of Both Worlds (Chippendale: Pan Macmillan, 1991), p. 84. ISBN 0-7251-0704-9.
  10. ^ Ella & Smith 1987, p. 133-134.

BibliographyEdit

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