1978 Kangaroo tour

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The 1978 Kangaroo tour was the Australia national rugby league team's 14th tour of Great Britain and 9th tour of France, and took place from September to December 1978. In Britain the Kangaroos played a match against Wales before contesting the Ashes series against the Great Britain Lions, winning the third and deciding Test match.[1] The tourists then moved on to France where they were narrowly beaten in both Tests, the last series the Kangaroos would lose until 2005.[2] In addition to these six internationals, the Australians played sixteen other matches against local club and representative sides in both countries.

Background[edit]

The 1978 Kangaroo tour was the first since 1973 and took place in the wake of Australia's rugby league season. Sydney's 1978 NSWRFL season went longer than usual as it involved a grand final replay. For the English the tour was conducted during the first half of the 1978–79 Rugby Football League season.

Touring squad[edit]

The Australian team's coach was Frank Stanton, who had already taken the City, New South Wales and the Manly-Warringah teams to victory in all of their respective competitions that year.[3] Eastern Suburbs's captain (and former Manly premiership captain under Stanton in 1976) Bob Fulton, was selected to be the touring Australian side's skipper.[4] Another Manly-Warringah grand final winner John Harvey created some controversy when he declined selection for the tour due to personal reasons.[5] As a result his Manly-Warringah teammate Bruce Walker was called in as a replacement.[6] The tour manager was Peter Moore, with co-manager Jim Caldwell.[7]

Craig Young was named 'player of the tour'.[8] Bob Fulton was the tourists' top try scorer with 9.[9] Michael Cronin was the tourists' top point scorer with 142.

Name Position Club Date of birth Tests
Anderson, ChrisChris Anderson Wing Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (1952-05-02)2 May 1952 5
Boustead, KerryKerry Boustead Wing Souths (Innisfail) (1959-08-12)12 August 1959 5
Boyd, LesLes Boyd Second-row, Prop Western Suburbs Magpies (1956-11-17)17 November 1956 3
Corowa, LarryLarry Corowa Wing Balmain Tigers (1957-08-05)5 August 1957 0
Cronin, MichaelMichael Cronin Centre Parramatta Eels (1951-06-28)28 June 1951 5
Eadie, GrahamGraham Eadie Fullback Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1953-11-25)25 November 1953 5
Fulton, BobBob Fulton (c) Five-eighth, Centre Eastern Suburbs Roosters (1947-12-01)1 December 1947 5
Gerard, GeoffGeoff Gerard Prop, Second-row Parramatta Eels (1955-07-10)10 July 1955 5
Gibbs, JohnJohn Gibbs Halfback Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1956-05-16)16 May 1956 0
Hilditch, RonRon Hilditch Hooker Parramatta Eels (1953-08-13)13 August 1953 1
Kneen, SteveSteve Kneen Second-row Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (1953-06-04)4 June 1953 0
Krilich, MaxMax Krilich Hooker Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1949-10-25)25 October 1949 2
Martin, SteveSteve Martin Halfback Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1957-01-07)7 January 1957 1
McMahon, AllanAllan McMahon Fullback, Centre, Wing Balmain Tigers (1954-08-09)9 August 1954 0
Morris, RodRod Morris Prop Eastern Suburbs Tigers (1950-06-12)12 June 1950 2
Oliphant, GregGreg Oliphant Halfback Redcliffe Dolphins (1950-06-22)22 June 1950 0
Olling, GraemeGraeme Olling Prop Parramatta Eels (1948-07-19)19 July 1948 3
Peponis, GeorgeGeorge Peponis Hooker Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (1953-09-03)3 September 1953 2
Pierce, GregGreg Pierce (vc) Second-row, Lock Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (1950-03-04)4 March 1950 0
Price, RayRay Price Lock Parramatta Eels (1953-03-04)4 March 1953 5
Raudonikis, TomTom Raudonikis Halfback Western Suburbs Magpies (1950-04-13)13 April 1950 5
Reddy, RodRod Reddy Second-row, Lock St. George Dragons (1954-03-01)1 March 1954 3
Rogers, SteveSteve Rogers Centre Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (1954-11-24)24 November 1954 4
Schubert, IanIan Schubert Fullback, Wing Eastern Suburbs Roosters (1956-08-22)22 August 1956 0
Thompson, AlanAlan Thompson Five-eighth Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1953-10-10)10 October 1953 3
Thomson, IanIan Thomson Prop Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1956-05-16)16 May 1956 2
Walker, BruceBruce Walker Prop, Second-row Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (1952-06-08)8 June 1952 0
Young, CraigCraig Young Prop St. George Dragons (1956-06-25)25 June 1956 5

Great Britain leg[edit]

30 September
Blackpool Borough 1–39 Australia
[1]
Borough Park (Blackpool)
Attendance: 2,700
1 October
Cumbria 4–47 Australia
[2]
4 October
Great Britain Under 24s 8–30 Australia
[3]
Craven Park, Hull
Attendance: 6,418
8 October
Bradford 11–21 Australia
[4]
Odsal (Bradford)
Attendance: 15,755
11 October
Warrington 15–12 Australia
[5]
Wilderspool (Warrington)
Attendance: 10,143

A controversial late Alan Gwilliam try gave Warrington a 15–12 win over Australia, with Steve Hesford kicking six goals. In the tourists' first lost match of the tour Warrington's packmen Tommy Martyn, Mike Nicholas, Tommy Cunningham and Roy Lester were in superb form, ably supported by replacement half backs Gwilliam and Clark. This was Warrington's eighth win over Australia.[10]

Wales[edit]

The Kangaroos played a non-test international against Wales at the St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground.

15 October
Wales Wales 3–8 Australia Australia



1 Goal:
David Watkins
Field goal:
David Watkins
[6] 2 Tries:
Bob Fulton
Tom Raudonikis
1 Goal:
Mick Cronin
St Helen's (Swansea)
Attendance: 4,250
Referee/s: Ron Campbell
Wales Posit. Australia
David Watkins (c) FB Graham Eadie
Clive Sullivan WG Ian Schubert
David Willicombe CE Mick Cronin
Eddie Cunningham CE Steve Rogers
John Bevan WG Kerry Boustead
Bill Francis SO Bob Fulton (c)
Paul Woods SH Tom Raudonikis
Jim Mills PR Graeme Olling
Tony Fisher HK George Peponis
Mel James PR Ian Thomson
Glyn Shaw SR Greg Pierce
Trevor Skerrett SR Rod Reddy
Roy Mathias LF Ray Price
Res. Craig Young
Res. Alan Thompson
Kel Coslett Coach Frank Stanton

Kangaroos' vice captain Greg Pierce injured his knee in this match and made no more appearances on the tour.[11]


17 October
Leeds 19–25 Australia
[7]
Headingley (Leeds)
Attendance: 9,781

1st Ashes Test[edit]

The Ashes series was styled the Forward Chemicals Test series due for sponsorship reasons. Great Britain had the opportunity to re-gain the title on home soil.

21 October
Great Britain United Kingdom 9–15 Australia Australia
1 Try:
John Bevan

3 Goals:
George Fairbairn
[8] 2 Tries:
Kerry Boustead
Bob Fulton
4 Goals:
Mick Cronin
Field goal:
Bob Fulton
Central Park (Wigan)
Attendance: 17,644
Referee/s: Ron Campbell
Great Britain Posit. Australia
George Fairbairn FB Graham Eadie
Stuart Wright WG Kerry Boustead
Eric Hughes CE Steve Rogers
Eddie Cunningham CE Mick Cronin
John Bevan WG Chris Anderson
Roger Millward (c) SO Bob Fulton (c)
Steve Nash SH Tom Raudonikis
Jimmy Thompson PR Graeme Olling
David Ward HK Max Krilich
Paul Rose PR Craig Young
George Nicholls SR Geoff Gerard
Len Casey SR Rod Reddy
Steve Norton LF Ray Price
John Holmes Res. (Steve Kneen)
Phil Hogan Res.
Peter Fox Coach Frank Stanton

Great Britain were trailing 6 – 7 with fifteen minutes remaining when an Australian pass went to ground and Welsh winger John Bevan kicked the ball ahead. It was then a foot race between him and the Australian fullback to reach the ball which was slowing within Australia's in-goal area. Both players stumbled and dived, with Bevan getting a hand on the ball and claiming the try which was awarded, giving the home side a 9 – 7 lead. The Kangaroos then worked their way up to the other end of the field and moved the ball through the hands out to the right wing where Kerry Boustead crossed for a try, regaining his side the lead 9 – 10. In the final minutes Australian captain Bob Fulton forced his way over for a try which was also converted, so the match ended with the scoreline at 9 – 15.


25 October
19:00
Widnes 11–10 Australia
1 Try:
Stuart Wright

4 Goals:
Mick Burke
[9] 2 Tries:
Ian Schubert
Bruce Walker
2 Goals:
Michael Cronin
Naughton Park (Widnes)
Attendance: 12,202
Referee/s: Ron Moore

By half time Widnes were leading 7 – 2. Up to and including the last Kangaroo tour in which Australia played English club teams as part of their schedule in 1994, this was the last game the Kangaroos lost to an English club side.

29 October
Hull 2–34 Australia
[10]
The Boulevard (Hull)
Attendance: 10,723
1 November
Salford 2–14 Australia
[11]
The Willows, Salford
Attendance: 6,155

2nd Ashes Test[edit]

Several changes were made to the Great Britain team, including a completely new front row. This match was broadcast live.[12]

5 November
Great Britain United Kingdom 18–14 Australia Australia
2 Tries:
Stuart Wright

6 Goals:
George Fairbairn
[12] 2 Tries:
Ray Price
Steve Rogers
4 Goals:
Steve Rogers
Odsal (Bradford)
Attendance: 26,761
Referee/s: Mick Naughton
Great Britain Posit. Australia
George Fairbairn FB Graham Eadie
Stuart Wright WG Kerry Boustead
John Joyner CE Steve Rogers
Les Dyl CE Mick Cronin
John Atkinson WG Chris Anderson
Roger Millward (c) SO Bob Fulton (c)
Steve Nash SH Tom Raudonikis
Jim Mills PR Graeme Olling
Tony Fisher HK Max Krilic
Brian Lockwood PR Craig Young
George Nicholls SR Geoff Gerard
Phil Lowe SR Rod Reddy
Steve Norton LF Ray Price
John Holmes Res. Alan Thompson
Paul Rose Res. Les Boyd
Peter Fox Coach Frank Stanton

In the final minutes of the first half the British had just made their way into Australia's half of the field when they made a break up the middle through Roger Millward. He then kicked the ball ahead as he was being tackled and his winger Stuart Wright was chasing through to get a hand on it and score. The try was converted so the home side led at the break 11 – 4.

In the second half Britain's right centre John Joyner made a break and popped a pass over to his winger Stuart Wright to cross once again. They won the match 18–14 to bring the series to 1-all.

This would be the last time Great Britain beat Australia in a Test match for another ten years.[13]


8 November
19:30
Wigan 2–28 Australia





1 Goal:
George Fairbairn
[13] 6 Tries:
Larry Corowa (2)
Steve Rogers (2)
Bruce Walker
Allan McMahon
5 Goals:
Michael Cronin
Central Park (Wigan)
Attendance: 10,645
Referee/s: Peter Massey

At half time Wigan trailed Australia 2 – 5.[14]

12 November
St Helens 4–26 Australia
[14]
Knowsley Road (St Helens)
Attendance: 16,352

In a Leeds bar, a member of Surrey rock band The Jam, Paul Weller, glassed the face of Jim Caldwell, the team manager from Queensland.[15] Australian player Larry Corowa ran to defend the bloodied Caldwell, was punched from behind himself and raced into a nearby bar to get teammates to provide reinforcements for the brawl that ensued. One member of The Jam landed in hospital with broken ribs and another was reported at the time to have been charged with assault. The official police statement cleared the Australians of any wrongdoing.[16]

14 November
York 2–29 Australia
[15]
Wigginton Road (York)
Attendance: 5,155

3rd Ashes Test[edit]

Warrington's John Bevan came into the centres for Leeds star Les Dyl, while Hull prop Vince Farrar made his Great Britain debut in place of Hull Kingston Rovers' Brian Lockwood. The Kangaroos maintained the same backline from the 2nd Test, but brought George Peponis, Rod Morris and Les Boyd into their forward pack.

18 November
15:00
Great Britain United Kingdom 6–23 Australia Australia
2 Tries:
John Bevan
Roger Millward
[16] 4 Tries:
Les Boyd
Geoff Gerard
George Peponis
Tom Raudonikis
5 Goals:
Mick Cronin (5/6)
1 Field goal:
Bob Fulton
Headingley (Leeds)
Attendance: 30,604
Referee/s: Mick Naughton
Man of the Match: Tommy Raudonikis
Great Britain Posit. Australia
George Fairbairn FB Graham Eadie
Stuart Wright WG Kerry Boustead
John Joyner CE Steve Rogers
John Bevan CE Michael Cronin
John Atkinson WG Chris Anderson
Roger Millward (c) SO Bob Fulton (c)
Steve Nash SH Tom Raudonikis
Jim Mills PR Craig Young
Tony Fisher HK George Peponis
Vince Farrar PR Rod Morris
George Nicholls SR Geoff Gerard
Phil Lowe SR Les Boyd
Steve Norton LF Ray Price
John Holmes Res. Alan Thompson
Paul Rose Res. Ian Thomson
Peter Fox Coach Frank Stanton

The deciding test attracted the largest attendance of any match on the tour. After two penalty goals by Mick Cronin Australia led by 4 points to nil. The Kangaroos then got the first try of the match with a close-range dive from George Peponis at dummy-half. The conversion by Cronin was successful so Australia led 9 – 0. The visitors scored another try when the ball was passed from dummy-half to a steamrolling Les Boyd who raced through to score under the goal posts, bringing the lead to 12 – 0. Later, after making a break and crossing the half-way line Raudonikis passed to Geoff Gerard who ran the remaining metres to score untouched, making the score 17 – 0.

Australian fullback Graham Eadie crossed early in the second half but the try was controversially disallowed for a forward pass. Bob Fulton took the Australians' lead out to 20–0 with a drop-goal early in the second half.[17] Great Britain scored the first try of the second half when 31-year-old Roger Millward, captaining Great Britain for the last time,[18] reached out of a tackle and bounced the ball off the turf of the Australian in-goal area. The home side scored again when they moved the ball through the hands out to the left wing where Bevan dived over in the corner. The Kangaroos scored next when Raudonikis, directly from a scrum win, ran through and put the ball down.

Australia therefore retained the Ashes with the first of a fourteen-year winning streak between these two sides that would last until 1988.[19]

France leg[edit]

22 November
Catalan XIII 15–26 Australia
[17]

Attendance: 2,270

1st Test[edit]

Steve Martin was selected to make his Test debut.[20]

26 November
France France 13–10 Australia Australia
1 Try:
Michel Naudo

5 Goals:
Jose Moya
[18] 2 Tries:
Michael Cronin
Graham Eadie
2 Goals:
Michael Cronin
Stade d'Albert Domec (Carcassonne)
Attendance: 7,000
Referee/s: Andre Breysse
France Posit. Australia
Francis Tranier FB Graham Eadie
Jose Moya WG Kerry Boustead
Christian Laumond CE Michael Cronin
Michel Naudo CE Steve Martin
Gerard Borreil WG Chris Anderson
Eric Waligunda SO Bob Fulton (c)
Ivan Grésèque SH Tom Raudonikis
Henri Daniel (c) PR Craig Young
Andre Malacamp HK George Peponis
Delphin Castanon PR Rod Morris
Didier Hermet SR Geoff Gerard
Charles Zalduendo SR Les Boyd
Michel Maique LF Ray Price
Coach Frank Stanton

France won the first Test 13–10 at Stade Albert Domec in Carcassonne.


29 November
Cote d'Azur 7–29 Australia
[19]

Attendance: 645
3 December
Les Espoirs (Colts) 20–5 Australia
[20]

Attendance: 1,600
6 December
Midi-Pyrénées XIII 7–36 Australia
[21]

Attendance: 1,627

2nd Test[edit]

10 December
France France 11–10 Australia Australia
1 Try:
Michel Naudo

3 Goals:
Jose Moya
2 Field goals:
Gerard Borreil
Eric Waligunda
[22] 2 Tries:
Kerry Boustead
Steve Rogers
2 Goals:
Michael Cronin
Stade des Minimes (Toulouse)
Attendance: 6,500
Referee/s: P Laverny
France Posit. Australia
Francis Tranier FB Graham Eadie
Jose Moya WG Kerry Boustead
Christian Laumond CE Steve Rogers
Michel Naudo CE Michael Cronin
Gerard Borreil WG Chris Anderson
Eric Waligunda SO Bob Fulton (c)
Jean-Louis Castel SH Tom Raudonikis
Henri Daniel (c) PR Ian Thomson
Andre Malacamp HK Ron Hilditch
Delphin Castanon PR Craig Young
Didier Hermet SR Geoff Gerard
Charles Zalduendo SR Rod Reddy
Michel Maique LF Ray Price
Jean-Marc Bourret Res. Graeme Olling
Res. Alan Thompson
Roger Garrigue Coach Frank Stanton

The referee was Mr Laverny from Bordeaux. France were coached by Roger Garrigue. Their line-up included world class players, lock, Joel Roosebrouck[21] and prop, Didier Hermet from Villeneuve-Sur-Lot, and Jean Marc Bourret in the centres. Ron Hilditch played at hooker in place of Max Krilich who was injured.[22] France claimed a 2–0 series win over the touring Kangaroos with an 11–10 result at the Stade Municipal, Toulouse in front of 6,500 spectators.

France thus became the last team to record successive victories against Australia.[23] This would be the last time the Kangaroos failed to win a series or tournament until the 2005 Tri-Nations.[24]

Statistics[edit]

Leading Try Scorer

Leading Point Scorer

Largest Attendance

Largest Club Game Attendance

References[edit]

  1. ^ news.bbc.co.uk. "Australia v Great Britain: the history". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  2. ^ AFP (27 November 2005). "Kiwis crush Kangaroos in Tri-Nations final". ABC News. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Frank Stanton". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. sahof.org.au. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Annual Report. Australia: Australian Rugby Football League. 2008. p. 57. 
  5. ^ Tony Adams. "Legend Q&A". Rugby League Week (Sydney, NSW: PBLMedia) (4 July 2007): 22–23. 
  6. ^ "Bruce Walker". yesterdayshero.com.au. SmartPack International. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Clarkson, Alan (14 November 1978). "Kangaroos Brawl with Punk Group". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Craig Young". Legends. jubileeavenue.com.au. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Whiticker, Alan. "Bob Fulton". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Changing Times – 1970 to 1995". warringtonwolves.org. Warrington Wolves. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Whiticker, Alan. "Greg Pierce". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Kangaroos will play in London on 1982 tour". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 November 1981. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Ashes battles of the past". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "8th November 1978: Wigan 2 Australia 28". Cherry & White. wigan.rlfans.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Malone, Paul (13 November 2013). "Recent Billy Slater and Josh Papalii incidents far from the tip of the iceberg for Kangaroos". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Walshaw, Nick (19 October 2013). "Josh Papalii robbing just the latest in long list of tour mishaps for Kangaroos in UK". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  17. ^ de la Riviere, Richard (18 November 1978). "On this day". totalrl.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Should he stay or should he go?". The Guardian. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". The Independent. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  20. ^ wagga.nsw.gov.au. "Steve Martin". Sporting Hall of Fame. Museum of the Riverina. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "FLASHBACK: December 1978". stevericketts.com.au. Steve Ricketts. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Whiticker, Alan. "Ron Hilditch". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  23. ^ Koch, Dan (17 November 2006). "Britain to face Roos backlash". The Australian. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "On this day". espn. 10 December 1978. Retrieved 9 February 2014.