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Australia national rugby union team

Union Australian Rugby Union
Nickname(s) Wallabies
Emblem(s) Wallaby
Coach(es) Michael Cheika
Captain(s) Stephen Moore
Most caps George Gregan (139)
Top scorer Michael Lynagh (911)
Most tries David Campese (64)
First international
Australia 13 – 3 British Isles
24 June 1899[1]
Largest win
 Australia 142 – 0 Namibia 
25 October 2003
Largest defeat
 South Africa 53 – 8 Australia 
30 August 2008
World Cup
Appearances 8 (First in 1987)
Best result Champions 1991, 1999

The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies (or Qantas Wallabies for sponsorship purposes) and competes annually with Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa in The Rugby Championship, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand, the Mandela Challenge Plate with South Africa and the Puma Trophy with Argentina. Australia are ranked second in the World Rugby Rankings, as of the end of August 2015.[2]

Australia have competed in all eight Rugby World Cups, and have won the World Cup on two occasions, in 1991 beating England in the final, and in 1999 when their opponents in the final were France. Australia also lost in the final after extra time to England in the 2003 competition.[3] Australia are governed by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU). Eleven former Australian players have been inducted into either the International Rugby Hall of Fame or the IRB Hall of Fame. Three are members of the International Hall only, four are members of the IRB Hall only (one of whom was recognised for non-playing accomplishments in the sport), and four are members of both Halls of Fame.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Early 20th century 1.2
    • Post war 1.3
    • 1960s 1.4
    • 1970s 1.5
    • 1980s 1.6
    • 1990s 1.7
    • 2000s 1.8
    • 2010s 1.9
  • Strip 2
  • Nickname 3
  • Record 4
    • Tri Nations and The Rugby Championship 4.1
    • World Cup 4.2
    • Overall 4.3
  • Players 5
    • Selection policy 5.1
    • Current squad 5.2
    • Notable players 5.3
    • Individual records 5.4
  • Coaches 6
  • Home grounds 7
  • Broadcasters 8
  • Sponsorship 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • Bibliography 12
  • External links 13



The 1899 Australia team.

In 1882 the Southern Rugby Football Union (renamed the New South Wales Rugby Union in 1892)[4] toured New Zealand. The New Zealand national team toured New South Wales in 1884 – defeating New South Wales in all three matches, and winning all nine matches on tour.[5]

The first tour by a British team took place in 1888. A British Isles team toured Australia. Four Tests were played between Australia and the British Isles (three in Sydney and one in Brisbane). The Australian team for the first Test match consisted of six players from Queensland and nine from New South Wales.[1] The team wore the blue of New South Wales when playing in Sydney and the maroon of Queensland when playing in Brisbane, but with an Australian Coat of Arms in place of the usual emblems of each colony.[7] The first Test was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground and won 13–3 by Australia, but the tourists won the remaining three Tests.[8]

Early 20th century

The first Test between Australia and New Zealand was played on 15 August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Despite Australia losing 22–3,[9] this tour improved rugby's popularity in Australia and helped to increase attendances at club matches in Sydney and Brisbane.[10]

The squad that went on a tour in 1908.

In 1907 the New South Wales Rugby League was formed and star player Dally Messenger left the Rugby union for the rival code.[11] The next year the first Australian team to tour the British Isles left Sydney. Newspapers in England initially gave the team the name 'Rabbits'.[12][13] The Australian players thought this nickname derogatory and replaced it with 'Wallabies'.[14]

In 1909, when the new "Northern Union" code was still in its infancy in Australia, a match between the Kangaroos and the Wallabies was played before a crowd of around 20,000, with the Rugby League side winning 29–26.[15]

Australia's last Test before First World War was against New Zealand in July 1914. The war had a very negative effect on rugby union in Australia. All rugby union competitions in New South Wales and Queensland ceased during the War after the state bodies decided it was inappropriate to play football when so many young men were fighting overseas. This resulted in competitions all but closed down in New South Wales and Queensland. In Queensland regular competitions did not commence again until 1928. This caused many players to switch to rugby league – which did not cease playing during the war.

War hero Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop also played for Australia before World War II. He played on the side that was the first to win the Bledisloe Cup.[16]

Post war

Wallaby captain Solomon chaired by the Springboks 1953

The first Test to following World War Two was played at Carisbrook, Dunedin between Australia and New Zealand in 1946, which New Zealand won 31–8. Australia did not win on the three match tour; beaten 20–0 by New Zealand Maori, and then losing 14–10 to the All Blacks the following week. Australia embarked on a tour of the home nations in 1947–48. The successful tour fell short of an undefeated run when the Australia lost to France in their last match, in Paris. Players on the rise included Trevor Allan, Cyril Burke and Nicholas Shehadie.[17]

After returning from the successful European tour, Australia hosted the New Zealand Maori in a three match series in 1949; both sides winning once, with one draw. In September of that year, Australia played the All Blacks twice in New Zealand, winning both games and taking back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time on New Zealand soil. The 'Number 1' All Black side was touring South Africa at the time and the wins by Australia against the B-team have sometimes been downgraded. However, in deference to the apartheid system then in operation in South Africa, the NZRU did not select any Maori players for the tour. Many of those regular All Black Maoris played against Australia instead and it could be said that the New Zealand team that played Australia was at least as good as the one on tour in South Africa. The British Isles toured Australia in 1950, and won both of the Tests against Australia. The following year Australia fell to a three Test whitewash to the All Blacks. Australia won in July 1952, defeating Fiji at the Sydney Cricket Ground – they then lost the second Test to Fiji by two points. Australia managed to beat the All Blacks at Lancaster Park after the Fijian series; however they lost the second Test.

On this tour they also drew against Rhodesia in Kitwe 8–8.


The first match of the new decade was the win over Fiji at the SCG in the first match of a three Test series during 1961. This was followed by a second win, but Fiji grabbed a draw in the third Test. Australia then headed to South Africa, where they lost to the Springboks in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. After returning home, they faced France at the SCG, who beat them 15–8.

In 1962, Australia played the All Blacks five times and lost all but a 9-all draw at Athletic Park. After defeating England 18–9 in 1963 in Sydney, Australia beat the Springboks in consecutive Tests in South Africa; the first team to do so since the 1896 British team.

Fewer tests were played throughout the mid-1960s, with Australia only playing the a three Test series against All Blacks in 1964. They won the third Test after losing the first two. The following year Australia hosted the Springboks for two Tests, winning 18–11 and 12–8. This was their first ever series win over South Africa and first over a major nation since 1934.

The British Isles came the following year, beating Australia 11–8 at the SCG, before hammering them 31–0 in Brisbane. Australia left for Europe in that December where a 14–11 victory over Wales was followed by a slim 11–5 defeat of Scotland. The tour continued into the following year where Australia beat England 23–11 before losing to Ireland 15–8 and France 20–14. Australia then hosted Ireland, who beat them again in Sydney. This was followed by a 20-point loss to the All Blacks. The following year, Australia lost to the All Blacks by just one point, and defeated France by the same margin for their last win of the decade. After losing to Ireland and Scotland on tour, Australia hosted Wales who also beat them.


Australia played Scotland in 1970 and won by 20 points. The 1971 South African tour of Australia took place the next season. Protests were held around Australia and in Queensland a state of emergency was issued in advance of one of the Tests. Australia toured France in November of that year; defeating France in Toulouse, but losing the second Test in Paris. France then visited Australia in June 1972 and played a two Test series where they won one and drew one. Australia then played three Test series against the All Blacks in New Zealand—losing all three. They then stopped over in Suva to play Fiji on their return, where they won their only Test of the year.

The following year, Australia hosted Tonga, and after winning the first Test, they lost 11–16 at Ballymore in their second. Australia also had a short tour of the United Kingdom in November 1973 where they lost 24–0 to Wales, and 20–3 to England. In 1974, Australia hosted the All Blacks for a three Test series—losing two, but drawing in Brisbane.

In 1975 Australia defeated England in a two Test series at home. Australia then played Japan for the first time; beating them by 30 points in the first of two matches, and then winning 50 to 25 in the second. They then travelled to the Northern hemisphere for matches against Scotland and Wales where they were not able to score a try in either of their losses. The tour of Britain and Ireland continued into 1976, and Australia lost to England at Twickenham, but were able to defeat Ireland at Lansdowne Road. On their way home Australia played one more match—in Los Angeles against the United States. Australia won 24–12. In June of that year, Australia hosted Fiji for a three Test series and won all three. Australia finished the year with their tour of Europe where the team played two Tests against France in France, but lost both of them. There were no Wallaby tests played in 1977.

Wales toured Australia in 1978, and Australia beat them 18–8 at Ballymore, and then again by two points at the SCG. This was followed by a three match series with the All Blacks. Although New Zealand won the first two, Australia defeated them in the last Test at Eden Park with Greg Cornelsen scoring four tries. The following year Ireland visited Australia and defeated Australia in two Tests. Following this Australia hosted the All Blacks for a single Test at the SCG which Australia won 12–6. Australia then left for Argentina for two Tests. After going down 24–13 in the first, Australia finished the decade by beating Argentina 17–12 in Buenos Aires.


In 1980 Australia won the Bledisloe Cup for only the fourth time—defeating New Zealand 2–1 in a three match series in Australia. This was the start of a successful era for Australia. In 1984 Australia toured the Home nations with a young side and new coach Alan Jones. The 1984 Wallabies became the first team from Australia to achieve a Grand Slam by defeating all four Home Nations: England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and a strong Barbarians side. The tour signalled the emergence of Australia as a serious force on the world stage. Many records were established on the tour including; 100 points being scored in the four Tests—the most scored by a touring team to the United Kingdom and Ireland, the first ever push-over try conceded by Wales in Cardiff, Mark Ella scoring a try in each match – a feat never before achieved.

In 1986 Australia toured New Zealand in a three match series for the Bledisloe Cup. New Zealand rugby was in turmoil as an unofficial team named The Cavaliers that contained the bulk of the All Blacks players toured South Africa. On return those All Blacks who had toured with The Cavaliers were banned from selection for the first Bledisloe Test. Australia went on to win the first match by 13–12. The ban on players was lifted for the second Test which was played on 23 August 1986 at Carisbrook. New Zealand squared the series 1–1 by winning the match 13–12. The match included controversy when Welsh referee Derek Bevan disallowed a try by Australia number eight Steve Tuynman. The final match was played on 6 September 1986 at Eden Park. Australia beat a full strength New Zealand team 22–9 to secure their first series win on New Zealand soil.

Australia went into the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 confident. However, the semi-final against France at Sydney's Concord Oval, was lost 30–26. Australia then lost the third-fourth play-off match against Wales. While Australia's performances over the three years under coach Alan Jones were of a high standard, Jones had a polarising effect on the team with many players unhappy with his management style. Mark Ella, who retired after the 1984 season, stated that he might not have retired had Jones not been coach. Notably, there were deep ructions between coach Alan Jones and influential half-back Nick Farr-Jones. Before and during the 1987 World Cup Alan Jones increased his activities outside coaching Australia, including radio broadcasting. Following the World Cup Jones was removed as coach and Bob Dwyer—who had coached Australia in 1982 and 1983—returned to coach in 1988.

In 1989 the British and Irish Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1966. After winning the first Test, Australia lost the second and third matches to lose the series 1–2. Bob Dwyer identified a lack of forward dominance as a major factor contributing to the loss and entered the 1990s with an aim to improve this facet of the Wallaby game.

John Moulton was the Wallabies team doctor during the 1986 Bledisloe Cup win in New Zealand and the Rugby World Cup in 1987 and the Rugby World Cup victory in 1991.[18]


The team regrouped and then went into the 1991 World Cup with a renewed attitude. In the pool games they beat Argentina, cruised to a 38–3 win over Wales, and beat Samoa 9–3 in a rain soaked game. During the quarter-final match against Ireland, Australia were never able to pull away from them. With literally seconds remaining on the clock, Ireland were up 18–15 before Michael Lynagh scored in the corner to break the hearts of the Irish and qualify for the semi-final against New Zealand. In the first half they raced to a 13–3 lead and then showed they could defend as the All Blacks pounded their line. They faced England in the final at Twickenham. England changed their usually forward-dominated game plan and attempted to play more of a running game. It was unsuccessful and Australia battled out a 12–6 win. David Campese was named player of the tournament having scored six tries in a series of outstanding performances. Victory parades were held back in Australia for their national team.

The decade was one of the most important in the creation of the modern game. Australia's defence of the World Cup in South Africa in 1995 opened with defeat by the home side. Pool play was followed by an exit in the quarter-final against England courtesy of a long-range drop-goal from the boot of Rob Andrew. This was Australia's worst ever World Cup result, on a par with Australia's unexpected exit from the 2007 campaign at the quarter-final stage, also against England. The Tri-Nations and Super 12 tournaments were established that year, and started in 1996. This pushed the game into professionalism. In response to rugby's move to professionalism, the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) was established in October 1995 to safeguard the interests of Australia's professional rugby players.

Greg Smith was national coach in 1996 and 1997 when Australia only won two of their eight Tri-Nations Tests, both over South Africa in Australia, and suffered record-margin Test defeats by the All Blacks and Springboks. Rod Macqueen was appointed as Smith's successor and in 1998 Australia won both their Tests over the All Blacks to gain the Bledisloe Cup. They retained the Bledisloe in 1999 when they defeated the All Blacks by a record 28–7 in Sydney.

In the 1999 World Cup Australia won their pool and conceded only 31 points before facing Wales in their quarter final. They won 24–9 before winning the semi-final 27–21 against defending champions South Africa. The semi-final was won after a memorable drop goal in extra time by fly-half Stephen Larkham (his first drop goal attempt in a Test match). The final against France at Millennium Stadium was easily won by 35–12; with the majority of points courtesy of fullback and goal-kicker Matt Burke.

In 1999, five Australian players won their second Rugby World Cup: Phil Kearns, John Eales, Tim Horan, Jason Little and Dan Crowley.


A line-out during Ireland against Australia in 2006.

In 2000 Australia retained the Bledisloe Cup, and won the Tri Nations for the first time. They repeated this in 2001 and also achieved their first ever series win over the Rugby league players Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor, and Lote Tuqiri—all of whom went on to represent Australia. This was a contrast to much of the previous century where many Rugby union players were lured to league with large salaries.

After not retaining the Tri-Nations in 2002, and losing the Bledisloe Cup in 2003 Australia made a strong start to their [19] They played England in a thrilling final and were finally beaten after England's Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal in extra time.

In 2005 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the professionalism of rugby union the Wallaby Team of the Decade was announced. John Eales being named captain by a selection panel of 30. Following the 2005 European tour, media outlets such as the Daily Telegraph called for the sacking of both Eddie Jones and George Gregan. Former coach Alan Jones also called for their sacking. The record of eight losses from their last nine Tests resulted in Jones being fired by the Australian Rugby Union.

John Connolly was named as the head-coach of Australia in early 2006. Australia won both of two Tests against England in 2006, as well as a subsequent win over Ireland. Australia lost by 20 points in their opening Tri-Nations fixture against the All Blacks. They then beat South Africa in Brisbane by 49–0. They won one of their remaining four matches of the tournament. Following defeat by England in the Quarter-Finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Connolly announced he was resigning as head-coach.

Robbie Deans was appointed head coach in early 2008 as the Wallabies began their preparations for the 2008 Tri-Nations series. After the retirement of George Gregan and Stephen Larkham after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Deans had the task of choosing a squad minus some of its most experienced players. The Wallabies had mixed results in the 2008 Tri Nations Series, defeating New Zealand in Sydney and beating South Africa twice, in both Perth and Durban. However, the Wallabies suffered the worst defeat in their history, going down 53–8 to South Africa in Johannesburg.

2009 was not a good year for the Wallabies. It was a good start for them as they defeated the Barbarians 55 – 7 and then beat Italy in both tests and finishing off the Mid year test series with a 22 – 6 win over France. It went downhill from there as they finished 3rd in the Tri Nations with 3 losses to the All Blacks (22 – 16, 19 – 18 and 33 – 6) and 2 losses to the World Champion Springboks (29 – 17 and 32 – 25). Their only win in the Tri Nations was a 21 – 6 win over the Springboks. In the Autumn Internationals of 2009, they lost to All Blacks 32 – 19, they beat England 18 – 9 on Jonny Wilkinson's return in the English jersey. The Wallabies then drew with Ireland 20-all after Brian O'Driscoll's last minute try to give Ronan O'Gara a relatively easy conversion to draw level. They then lost to Scotland for the first time in 27 years. The final score was 9 – 8 despite the 3 – 3 score at half time. The Wallabies only won 7 out of their 14 games in 2009 but were still ranked 3rd in the world.


2010 saw improved results in the Tri-Nations series, with a very rare away win against South Africa awarding Australia the Mandela Plate and ensuring they retained second place both in the 2010 Tri-Nations competition as well as the IRB World Rankings. However, they suffered their tenth consecutive defeat at the hands the All Blacks, an all-time record. Later that year however, Australia finally beat New Zealand in a thrilling game that was played in Hong Kong. It was their first win against the All Blacks in close to three years. However they suffered losses against England and Munster on the their end of year European tour.

Australia's 2011 season began with a shock loss to Manu Samoa in Sydney, (23-32) but they would go on to win that year's Tri-Nations series; a tournament which they had not won in ten years since the 2001. They however failed the following season in their attempt the win the expanded version of the competition in 2012 called The Rugby Championship.

Australia also won their first match against Italy in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but lost their second 2011 World Cup match, 6–15 against Ireland. Injuries to crucial players Digby Ioane and Stephen Moore influenced the results, alongside poor line-out throwing. In their third Pool C match, against the United States, the Wallabies eventually won 67–5, with Rob Horne, Rocky Elsom, Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell, Pat McCabe and Radike Samo all scoring a try, while Anthony Fainga'a scored 2 and Adam Ashley-Cooper scored three. The Wallabies won their last pool match against Russia, 68–22. The Wallabies beat the Springboks 11–9 to progress into the semi-finals.[20] However a week later the Wallabies were knocked out of the 2011 World Cup after being defeated 6–20 by the All Blacks in the second Semi Final match.[21] They then faced Wales in the bronze medal final, narrowly winning 18-21.[22]

Following the Wallabies defeat to the British and Irish Lions in their 2013 tour, and with a winning rate of 58.1%, a poor 3-15 record against the All Blacks, Deans came under increasing pressure to keep his coaching position.[23][24][25][26] On July 2013, Deans resigned, ending his six-year tenure as head coach of the Wallabies.[27][28] During his tenure, Deans coached the Wallabies on 74 occasions winning 43 times, losing 29 and drawing twice.[29] He had won just 3 times against their main rivals, the All Blacks, with 1 draw in 2012. However, he left with a good record against the Springboks, with 9 wins from 14. Highlights during his tenure as coach included leading the Wallabies to a Tri Nations championship in 2011 and to a 3rd-place finish in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

On 9 July 2013, Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was officially named Wallabies coach to replace Robbie Deans.[30] McKenzie's first match in charge was a 47–29 loss to New Zealand in the opening fixture of the 2013 Rugby Championship.[31] In this match he gave 5 debutants their first cap. The 27–16 loss a week later, meant the Bledisloe Cup would stay with New Zealand for the 11th year in a row.[32] In addition to this, McKenzie led to team to a 38–12 loss to South Africa, the biggest ever winning margin by South Africa over Australia in Australia.[33] The 14–13 win over Argentina was McKenzie's first victory as an international coach, but the scoreless second half was the first time Australia had failed to score points in the second half since the home test v New Zealand in 2005.[34] Australia's poor form in the Championship continued against South Africa, where Australia lost 28–8 in Cape Town.[35] However, Australia's final fixture of the Championship saw the Wallabies earn their first bonus point win in the Championship and saw them score the most points in either the Rugby Championship / Tri Nations. During the Championship, McKenzie made several bold moves as a coach. He dropped star player Will Genia for Nic White, who at the time had only 3 caps, and named Ben Mowen as captain in his first year as a test player.

During the Bledisloe 3, New Zealand won 41–33 to win the Bledisloe series 3–0. During their 2013 end of year tour, McKenzie led the team to 4 consecutive wins (50–20 win over Italy, 32–15 win over Ireland, 21–15 win over Scotland and a 30–26 win over Wales) which was the first time Australia has done this since 2008. But Australia lost 20–13 to England in the opening match of the tour. However, during the tour Australia did retain the Lansdowne Cup, reclaimed the Hopetoun Cup and claimed the James Bevan Trophy for the 6th time in a row.

In 2014, their 4 consecutive wins were increased to 7 for the first time since 2000. They earned a 3–0 test series win over France during the June International Window, which included a 50–23 win in Brisbane, a 6–0 win in Melbourne and a 39–13 win in Sydney. The series win meant Australia reclaimed the Trophée des Bicentenaires for the first time since 2010, after losing it in 2012.

The Wallabies's unbeaten run stretched to 8 matches with a 12-all draw with New Zealand, prompting optimism that Australia could finally reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002, in addition to ending their 28-year winless run at Eden Park. However, Australia came crashing back to earth, suffering a 51-20 defeat during the second Bledisloe test, staged at the venue, stretching Australia's Bledisloe Cup drought to a 12th year. Australia managed to bounce back from that defeat, with hard fought 24-23 and 32-25 wins over South Africa and Argentina, with the latter win ensuring that Australia retained the Puma Trophy.

However, Australia was unable to reclaim the Mandela Challenge Plate, suffering a 28-11 loss to South Africa, after conceding 3 tries and a drop goal in the final 11 minutes of the match. A week later, Australia suffered a 21-17 loss to Argentina, their first loss to Argentina in 17 years. This loss meant that Australia became the first country to lose to Argentina in the Rugby Championship since Argentina's admittance in 2012. For the second consecutive year, Australia finished in third place in the Rugby Championship.

On 18 October 2014, McKenzie resigned as the head coach of Australia.[36][37] He left the Wallabies with 11 wins in 22 tests coached, for a winning percentage of just 50%. McKenzie left with a good winning record against European opposition, winning 7 of 8 tests played, the lone loss coming against England in November 2013. He also left with a good winning record against Argentina, with a 3-1 win-loss record. However, he left with a poor record against Rugby Championship opponents, failing to win a match against New Zealand and leaving with a 1-3 win-loss record against South Africa.

On 22 October 2014, New South Wales Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika was appointed the new head coach of Australia, becoming Australia's third head coach in 2 years. In his first match as coach of Australia, Australia defeated the Barbarians 40-36 at Twickenham Stadium.[38][39]

On the 2014 end of year tour, Australia defeated Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff 33-28, delivering the Wallabies a 10th straight victory over the hosts in Michael Cheika's first Test as coach.[40] The Wallabies, though, were outscored by four tries to three, with fly half Bernard Foley slotting a late drop goal and three second-half penalties.[41] The Wallabies lost the other three test matches on the tour against France, Ireland and England which dropped them to sixth place on the world rankings.[42]


An old Australian nation rugby union team strip used in the 2000s.

The Wallabies play in Australia's traditional sporting colours of green and gold. Before there was a national jersey in place, the Wallabies would play in the jersey of the state the game was being held.[43] The Australian Coat of Arms would often replace the state logo on the jersey, a variety of these colours were used in a number of matches in the early 1900s.[43]

In 1928 governing bodies agreed that "the Australian amateur representative colours of green and gold, should be adopted".[43] The following year the All Blacks came to Australia, and the jersey worn was emerald green with the Australian Coat of Arms; with green socks with bars on the top.[43] The jersey remained the same, with a few variations, mainly throughout the 1930s.[43]

Canterbury's design for Australia's 2007 World cup jersey is more controversial, and features a curved tan-coloured panel across the chest resembling the shape of a bra.[44] This led the Sydney Morning Herald's chief rugby correspondent to publish a satire in his column comparing it to Kramer and Frank Costanza's infamous man bra from Seinfeld.[45]

The 2010 jersey is produced by KooGa, apparel sponsor for the season.[46] The first jersey used by the Wallabies under KooGa was used from 2010 through to the conclusion of the 2012 season, however, a different set of shorts and socks were made for the 2012 season. A new kit designed by KooGa was revealed in 2013, which was debuted by the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions. The KooGa kit was then rebranded under their subdivision BLK Sport with the BLK logos replacing the KooGa logos on the kit, for the 2013 Spring Tour (known as Autumn Internationals in the Northern Hemisphere). In October 2013, the ARU announced that Asics would replace KooGa as the apparel sponsor beginning in 2014 and the new Asics Wallabies merchandise would be available from May 2014– the release of the Asics jersey will mean the Wallabies will have donned 5 different jerseys to represent the country in only 4 seasons: the first being the original KooGa jersey (2010–12), the second KooGa jersey (2013), the rebranded KooGa/BLK jersey (2013), the first Asics jersey (2014) and finally the Asics 2015 World Cup jersey. It is also interesting to note that the new Asics contract will, in 2015 see the Wallabies wearing kit produced by four manufacturers at five world cups; Reebok (1999), Canterbury (2003, 2007), Kooga (2011), Asics (2015).

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1975 - 1988 Adidas No shirt sponsor
1989 - 1996 Canterbury
1997 Reebok
1998 - 1999 Vodafone
2000 - 2003 Canterbury
2004 - 2009 Qantas
2010 - 2013 Rugby Championship KooGa
2013 end of year tests BLK
2014–present Asics


Wallabies in the wild

The nickname "Wallabies" is in reference to the wallaby—a marsupial that is widely distributed throughout Australia. The name has its origins during first United Kingdom and North America tour by the Australian team in 1908.[12][47] New Zealand had just completed a tour and the English press dubbed their team the "All Blacks".[47] It was suggested that Australia should too have a nickname, and Rabbits was one of the names suggested by the English newspapers. The Australians rejected this, and did not want the national team to be represented by an imported pest.[12] They opted for the native Wallaby instead.[12][47] At first it was only touring parties that were nicknamed the Wallabies; when Australia played domestically, they were referred to as internationals.[12][47]


The Wallabies playing against the All Blacks.

Tri Nations and The Rugby Championship

Australia's only annual tournament was the Tri Nations (now The Rugby Championship played against Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa contested since 1996. They have won the Tri Nations competition three times in 16 years; in 2000, 2001 and 2011. Australia considers the All Blacks (New Zealand) to be their greatest rivals, with whom they have contested the Bledisloe Cup since 1932 with the Wallabies having won one in four of their encounters against their trans-Tasman opponents. The Bledisloe Cup is now contested during the Tri Nations. The longest period that Australia held the Bledisloe is five years, between 1998 and 2002.[49] The Mandela Challenge Plate is also contested between South Africa and Australia during the Tri Nations.

Tri Nations (1996 – 2011)
Nation Games Points Bonus
played won drawn lost for against diff
 New Zealand 72 50 0 22 1936 1395 +541 32 232 10
 Australia 72 29 1 42 1531 1721 −190 34 152 3
 South Africa 72 28 1 43 1480 1831 −351 24 138 3
Rugby Championship (2012 – )
Nation Games Points Bonus
played won drawn lost for against diff
 New Zealand 21 18 1 2 628 337 +291 11 85 3
 Australia 21 10 1 10 434 515 −81 3 45 1
 South Africa 21 10 1 10 522 424 +98 10 52 0
 Argentina 21 2 1 18 337 645 −308 8 18 0

Updated: 8 August 2015

World Cup

Webb Ellis Cup

Australia has appeared at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987. Australia is the first nation to win two World Cups in 1991 and 1999. New Zealand (1987 and 2011) and South Africa (1995 and 2007) have joined them. They progressed to three Rugby Union World Cup finals, a record jointly held with New Zealand, England and France. Australia co-hosted the 1987 event with New Zealand. They were grouped with England, the United States and Japan in Pool A. In their first ever World Cup match, Australia defeated England 19–6 at Concord Oval in Sydney then went on to beat their other pool opponents to finish the top of their group and advance to the quarter finals where they defeated Ireland 33–15. They were knocked out by France in the semi-finals, and then lost the third place match against Wales.

Australia automatically qualified for the 1991 World Cup in Europe. Australia again finished at the top of their pool, defeating Western Samoa, Wales and Argentina during the group stages. They met Ireland yet again in the quarter finals, beating them by one point to go through to the semi-finals, where they defeated the All Blacks 16–6 to qualify for their first World Cup final. Australia beat England 12–6 at Twickenham in the 1991 Rugby World Cup Final to become world champions. Australia were again automatically qualified for the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. Australia finished second in their pool, losing one game to hosts South Africa. They were then knocked out in the quarter finals by England.

Australia finished at the top of their group at the 1999 World Cup in Wales, defeating Ireland, Romania and the United States during the group stages. After beating hosts Wales in the quarter-finals, they defeated defending champions South Africa 27–21 to make it to the final. There they defeated France 35 to 12, in the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final and becoming the first nation to win the World Cup more than once. Australia solely hosted the tournament in 2003, and went undefeated in Pool A, beating Ireland, Argentina, Romania and Namibia. Australia defeated Scotland in the quarter finals, and then the All Blacks in what was regarded as an upset in the semi-finals, to go to the final. England won the final in extra time with a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal.

Australia again finished first in their group at the 2007 World Cup in France, after recording wins over Japan, Wales, Fiji and Canada. They were at the time the 2nd ranked team in the World, and the only team to have beaten the favourites New Zealand that year. However, they only progressed to the quarter finals, thus equalling their worst finish at the World Cup finals. They were eliminated once again by England 12–10, largely thanks again to Jonny Wilkinson's successful attempts at penalties. The loss was widely regarded as an upset, especially as England had only finished 2nd in their pool and were ranked 7th. Nevertheless, England went on to beat another favourite, France, and advanced to the final where they were beaten by South Africa.

In one of the scenes of the feature film, Invictus, Australia can be seen playing South Africa in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.


Top 25 rankings as on 1 November 2015[50]
Rank Change* Team Points
1  New Zealand 96.10
2  Australia 89.33
3  South Africa 87.66
4  Wales 83.49
5  Argentina 82.59
6  Ireland 81.17
7  France 79.77
8  England 79.77
9  Scotland 77.94
10  Japan 77.05
11  Fiji 76.96
12  Italy 72.74
13  Tonga 71.60
14  Georgia 71.45
15  Samoa 70.36
16  United States 68.66
17  Romania 66.59
18  Canada 62.65
19  Uruguay 62.11
20  Namibia 61.75
21  Spain 61.54
22  Russia 61.10
23  Chile 57.34
24  Hong Kong 57.31
25  South Korea 56.70
*Change from the previous week
Australia's Historical Rankings
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 1 November 2015[50]

Australia have won 303 of 589 matches played, a win record of approximately 51%.[51] When the World Rankings were introduced by the IRB in 2003 Australia were ranked fourth. Since then, the highest ranking Australia has achieved is second, and the lowest is sixth.[42][52]

Australia contests a number of other trophies outside The Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup and World Cup. Since 1997 the winner of England-Australia encounters have been awarded the Cook Cup, and since 1999 the winner of Ireland-Australia Tests have won the Lansdowne Cup, with France since 1989, the Trophée des Bicentenaires is contested, and against Wales since 2007, the James Bevan Trophy is contested, and with Scotland since 1998, the Hopetoun Cup is awarded.

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by an Australia national XV at test level up until 31 October 2015:[51]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Argentina 25 19 5 1 76.00% 673 387 +286
British and Irish Lions 23 6 17 0 26.09% 248 414 -166
 Canada 6 6 0 0 100.00% 283 60 +223
 England 44 25 18 1 56.82% 940 674 +266
 Fiji 20 17 2 1 85.00% 574 234 +340
 France 46 26 18 2 56.52% 991 802 +189
 Ireland 32 21 10 1 65.63% 657 453 +204
 Italy 16 16 0 0 100.00% 565 217 +348
 Japan 4 4 0 0 100.00% 220 58 +162
 South Korea 1 1 0 0 100.00% 65 18 +47
 Namibia 1 1 0 0 100.00% 142 0 +142
 New Zealand 155 42 106 7 27.10% 2160 3160 -1000
 New Zealand XV 24 6 18 0 25.00% 257 459 -202
 Māori 16 8 6 2 50.00% 240 203 +37
 Pacific Islanders 1 1 0 0 100.00% 29 14 +15
 Romania 3 3 0 0 100.00% 189 20 +169
 Russia 1 1 0 0 100.00% 68 22 +46
 Samoa 5 4 1 0 80.00% 204 58 +146
 Scotland 29 20 9 0 68.97% 706 364 +342
 South Africa 81 35 45 1 43.21% 1415 1572 -157
 South Africa XV 3 0 3 0 0.00% 30 69 -39
 Spain 1 1 0 0 100.00% 92 10 +82
 Tonga 4 3 1 0 75.00% 167 42 +125
 Uruguay 1 1 0 0 100.00% 65 3 +62
 United States 8 8 0 0 100.00% 368 78 +290
 Wales 39 28 10 1 71.79% 912 596 +316
Total 589 303 269 17 51.44% 12260 9987 +2273


Selection policy

Up until 2015, to be selected for the Wallabies, eligible players had to play for an Australian Super Rugby franchise, and eligible players playing outside of Australia were not able to be selected. On 16 April 2015, it was announced that the ARU would tweak their selection policy, so that certain players could ply their trade in the Japanese Top League competition from August to February, as long as they continued to play for a Super Rugby franchise from February to August, making them eligible for Wallaby selection as they would also be still playing in Australia. However, this "flexible contract" would only be given to a select amount of players considered by the head coach and the ARU board, which means not all players playing or transferring to Japan would be allowed to play in the Top League and the Super Rugby.[53] As the Top League competition clashes with some Wallaby test matches, Wallaby selectors would use World Rugby's regulation 9 (clubs must release players within international windows) to select these players when the Top League clashes with the Rugby Championship in August through to October, and the end-of-year tour in November. At this point, players playing in Europe were not considered for the flexible contract, as too much of the European season clashes with Wallaby test matches. However, on 22 April 2015, further changes were made to the original selection policy in order for some European based players to be selected. In addition to the flexible contract, Australian players playing anywhere in the world can be selected for the Wallabies as long as they fit a certain criteria - A player must have held a professional contract with Australian rugby for at least seven years, and have played 60 tests or more for an overseas based player to be selected. Further more, if a player does not fit this criteria and plays overseas, but chooses to return to Australia, they become immediately eligible for selection as long as they have signed at least 2 years with the Australian Super Rugby franchise for the following season.[54] Like the flexible contract, Wallaby selectors would use World Rugby's regulation 9 to select overseas based players anywhere in the world.

Current squad

On 21 August 2015, Michael Cheika named his 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[55]

On 29 September, Sam Carter and James Hanson were called up to the squad to replace Will Skelton and Wycliff Palu after suffering injuries during Australia's game with Uruguay.[56]

Head Coach: Michael Cheika

  • Caps Updated: 31 October 2015
Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by World Rugby.
Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
James Hanson Hooker (1988-09-15) 15 September 1988 10 Melbourne Rebels
Stephen Moore (c) Hooker (1983-01-20) 20 January 1983 102 Brumbies
Tatafu Polota-Nau Hooker (1985-07-26) 26 July 1985 61 Waratahs
Greg Holmes Prop (1983-06-11) 11 June 1983 24 Queensland Reds
Sekope Kepu Prop (1986-02-05) 5 February 1986 63 Waratahs
Scott Sio Prop (1991-10-16) 16 October 1991 16 Brumbies
James Slipper Prop (1989-06-06) 6 June 1989 74 Queensland Reds
Toby Smith Prop (1988-10-10) 10 October 1988 3 Melbourne Rebels
Sam Carter Lock (1989-10-10) 10 October 1989 12 Brumbies
Kane Douglas Lock (1989-06-01) 1 June 1989 23 Queensland Reds
Dean Mumm Lock (1984-03-05) 5 March 1984 44 Waratahs
Rob Simmons Lock (1989-04-19) 19 April 1989 60 Queensland Reds
Scott Fardy Flanker (1984-07-05) 5 July 1984 30 Brumbies
Michael Hooper (vc) Flanker (1991-10-29) 29 October 1991 51 Waratahs
Sean McMahon Flanker (1994-06-18) 18 June 1994 6 Melbourne Rebels
David Pocock Flanker (1988-04-23) 23 April 1988 55 Brumbies
Ben McCalman Number 8 (1988-03-18) 18 March 1988 47 Western Force
Will Genia Scrum-half (1988-01-17) 17 January 1988 66 Queensland Reds
Nick Phipps Scrum-half (1989-01-09) 9 January 1989 39 Waratahs
Quade Cooper Fly-half (1988-04-05) 5 April 1988 58 Queensland Reds
Bernard Foley Fly-half (1989-09-08) 8 September 1989 27 Waratahs
Kurtley Beale Centre (1989-01-06) 6 January 1989 60 Waratahs
Matt Giteau Centre (1982-09-29) 29 September 1982 102 Toulon
Tevita Kuridrani Centre (1991-03-31) 31 March 1991 31 Brumbies
Matt Toomua Centre (1990-01-02) 2 January 1990 31 Brumbies
Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc) Wing (1984-03-27) 27 March 1984 114 Waratahs
Rob Horne Wing (1989-08-15) 15 August 1989 29 Waratahs
Drew Mitchell Wing (1984-03-26) 26 March 1984 70 Toulon
Henry Speight Wing (1988-03-25) 25 March 1988 5 Brumbies
Joe Tomane Wing (1990-02-11) 11 February 1990 17 Brumbies
Israel Folau Fullback (1989-04-03) 3 April 1989 38 Waratahs

Notable players

Seven former Australian players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; David Campese, John Hipwell, Ken Catchpole, John Eales, Mark Ella, Nick Farr-Jones, Tim Horan and Michael Lynagh.[57] Campese, Catchpole, Eales and Ella have also been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame. Eales received this honour in 2007,[58] and the other three were inducted in 2013.[59]

Four former Australia players are members of the IRB Hall but not the International Hall. The first of these to be inducted, Nicholas Shehadie, won 30 caps for the Wallabies[60] and was inducted into the IRB Hall in 2011, but was not honoured as a player. He was instead recognised as one of four key figures in the creation of the Rugby World Cup.[61]

Three others were inducted alongside Campese, Catchpole and Ella in 2013—Thomas Lawton, Snr and John Thornett.[59] Gregan, a scrum-half whose Test career spanned the amateur and professional eras of the sport (1994–2007), is most notable as having been the all-time caps leader in international rugby union, with 139 in all (a record since surpassed by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll). He also captained the Wallabies in 59 Tests. Lawton, a fly-half whose international career spanned from 1920 to 1932, was noted for his ball-handling and kicking skills, and most notably led Australia to their first-ever clean sweep of the Bledisloe Cup series, in 1929. Thornett, a forward who played in four different positions for the Wallabies, made his international debut in 1955. He earned 35 caps in a 12-year Test career, and captained the Wallabies 15 times. During Australia's drawn 1963 Test series against South Africa, in which he served as captain, the Wallabies became the first team in the 20th century to win consecutive Tests over the Springboks.[62]

Individual records

Former captain world's most capped player until being surpassed by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll in 2014. Gregan also equalled the record for the most caps as captain with Will Carling, 59 caps (a record later to be broken by John Smit of South Africa). David Campese scored 64 Test tries in his career, which was a world record until Daisuke Ohata of Japan overtook him with 69 tries, and Michael Lynagh was the highest Test points scorer in world rugby with 911 until Neil Jenkins of Wales overtook him with 1037 points. Rocky Elsom scored the fastest forward hat-trick in World Cup history. Australia's most-capped forward is lock Nathan Sharpe, who retired from international rugby after the 2012 end-of-year Tests with 116 caps.

The longest winning streak by Australia was produced in the early 1990s, and started at the 1991 World Cup in England, with three pool wins, and subsequent quarter-final and semi-final victories over Ireland and the All Blacks respectively. This was followed by the win over England in the final. The streak continued into the following year, for two matches against Scotland and the All Blacks, lasting in total, 10 games. Similarly, the Australian record for losses in a row is also 10 games, which was sustained from a period from 1899 to 1907, including two British Isles tours, and losses to the All Blacks.

The largest winning margin for Australia was produced at the 2003 World Cup, in which they defeated Namibia 142 points to nil during the pool stages, the match is also the largest number of points scored by Australia. The largest loss was against South Africa, who beat Australia 53 points to 8 in 2008.


The current head coach is Michael Cheika who was appointed on 22 October 2014, following Ewen McKenzie's shock resignation. He is assisted by former Wallabies Nathan Grey - Defence coach, and Stephen Larkham - Attack coach. Former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma is the forwards and set-piece coach.

Name Nationality Tenure Tests Won Drawn Lost Win Rate %
Bob Dwyer 1982–83 16 7 1 8 44% 64%
1988–95 56 39 0 17 70%
Alan Jones 1984–88 31 21 2 8 68%
Greg Smith 1996–97 19 12 0 7 63%
Rod Macqueen 1997–2001 43 34 1 8 79%
Eddie Jones 2001–05 57 33 1 23 58%
John Connolly 2006–07 22 13 1 8 59%
Robbie Deans 2008–13 75 44 2 29 59%
Ewen McKenzie 2013–14 22 11 1 10 50%
Michael Cheika 2014– 16 11 0 5 69%

Prior to 1962, Australia did not select coaches as long-term appointments. Managers were appointed to handle the logistics of overseas tours and the assistant manager often doubled as the coach for the duration of the trip. Sometimes the team captain filled the Australian coaching role, particularly for home tests, since the IRB had ruled that home teams could not be assembled until three days before a test match.[63][64]

Home grounds

The opening match of the 2003 World Cup at Telstra Stadium.

The Wallabies play at a variety of stadiums around Australia. Some of these include Subiaco Oval in Perth, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, ANZ Stadium in Sydney, and the MCG and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

A variety of venues were used around Australia for the 2003 Rugby World Cup matches.

Some of the earlier stadiums that were traditionally used for Wallabies matches, included Sydney's Concord Oval and the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and Sports Ground, as well as Ballymore and the Exhibition Ground in Brisbane. It was the SCG that hosted the first ever Australian international, against Great Britain, in 1899.


The Wallabies rugby internationals and spring tour were televised by Network Ten between 1992 to 1995. Since 1996, Fox Sports have televised them. They jointly televised them with Seven Network between 1996 to 2010, Nine Network in 2011 and 2012 and Network Ten since their 2012 spring tour and their 2013 rugby internationals.

Wallabies internationals are protected by Australia's anti-siphoning laws, meaning that all Wallabies matches must be offered to a free-to-air network.


In April 2015, BMW Australia became the official partner of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).[65] Signed as the official vehicle partner, two-year deal that extends until the end of 2016 establishes BMW Australia as sponsors for the Wallabies and the ARU.[66]

The partnership agreement extends BMW’s involvement with the game globally, having an established relationship with the English Rugby Football Union as a vehicle partner since 2012.[67]

See also


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  29. ^ "Robbie Deans Statistics". 
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  • Fagan, Sean (2005). The Rugby Rebellion – The Divide of League and Union in Australasia. RL1908.  
  • Hickie, Thomas (1993). They Ran With the Ball – How Rugby Football Began in Australia. Longman Cheshire.  
  • Howitt, Bob (2005). SANZAR Saga – Ten Years of Super 12 and Tri-Nations Rugby. Harper Collins Publishers.  
  • Reason, John;  

External links

  • Australian rugby union home page
  • Australian rugby union Wallaby Hall of Fame
  • Australian rugby union news from Planet Rugby
  • Rugby in the Olympics, archived from the original on 2 January 2008 
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