Rugby Union – Australian Wallabies – Six of the Best – ‘The Greatest Flyhalves’
The Flyhalf: The ‘leader of the backs’. An elusive runner and key decision-maker who decides whether to distribute the ball to the backline or kick for position. His positional kicking skills are often supplemented by goal-kicking talents. Many team captains have occupied this position.
Dick Tooth was one of Australia ‘s most versatile backs, capable in a number of positions in which he played Test Rugby. Flyhalf was his best spot however, and the position from which he captained the Wallabies against New Zealand in 1957. A very gifted player with a wide range of skills, he went on to become a leading orthopaedic surgeon and a sports medicine pioneer. He played 10 Tests for Australia .
Arthur Summons represented Australia at flyhalf in the late 1950s, making the major tour of Britain in 1957-58 in which he formed a dynamic partnership with Des Connor. He represented the Gordon club in Sydney, played 10 Tests for Australia , and was voted one of the year’s outstanding players by the New Zealand Rugby Almanac after the 1958 Wallaby tour to NZ. He later switched to Rugby League, where he became captain-coach of the Kangaroos, was a well performed halfback and captain with Western Suburbs, and was immortalised in the famous Gladiators photograph of the 1963 grand final.
Mark Ella was one of three brothers from La Perouse in Sydney whose efforts with the Randwick club and Australia are renowned. Mark played 25 Tests for Australia between 1980 and 1984 and retired at 25, when at the peak of his powers. He was an extraordinary attacking player with a natural eye for an opportunity that was simply uncanny. When playing with his brothers the union was almost telepathic. Ella captained Australia in 1983 but was superseded by Andrew Slack for the grand slam winning Wallaby tour of Britain in 1984 — a tour on which Ella scored a try in all four internationals.
Paul McLean scored 263 points in 31 Tests for Australia, and had such command of his boot that he often controlled games single-handedly for Queensland or Australia . He was part of an amazing football dynasty — his grandfather, three uncles, a brother and a cousin all played for Australia — and he played a pivotal role in the turnaround of the 1970s which saw Queensland rise as a Rugby power. A graceful, commanding player, he has in later days turned his hand to administration as president of the Queensland Rugby Union and vice-president of the Australian Rugby Union.
Michael Lynagh began his career in the Australia side at inside centre alongside Mark Ella in 1984, and finished it as flyhalf and captain of the Wallabies 11 years later. In the meantime he so commanded the position his career spanned 72 Tests, and he scored 911 Test match points – at the time of his retirement nearly 600 more than any other Australian, and a world record. He followed Paul McLean as flyhalf in the Queensland side and Mark Ella in the Australian side, and it is testament to his standing that he maintained the standard set by Ella.
Stephen Larkham began life in representative Rugby as a fullback, and graduated to five-eighth only in an emergency when the new Australian coach Rod Macqueen took a gamble in 1998. Larkham was an immediate success, ghosting his way through the most rigid of defences and producing for the Australian backs a new springboard which eventually helped lift them to the status of 1999 World Cup winners. He has played with such consistent flair for Australia and the ACT Brumbies over the successful run of the 1998-2001 period that despite this relatively brief career, he stands tall against any Australian flyhalf of history. His outstanding field goal in extra time of the 1999 World Cup semi-final against South Africa was a memorable high moment.
Each Six of the Best – ‘The Greatest Flyhalves’ Jersey features;
- Individually numbered and signed jersey
- Signed by Dick Tooth, Arthur Summons, Mark Ella, Paul McLean, Michael Lynagh and Stephen Larkham
- Authentic full-size jersey made by Canterbury
- Officially Licensed by the ARU
- Come complete with Certificate of Authenticity
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