1986 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France

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The 1986 Kangaroo tour was the sixteenth Kangaroo Tour where the Australian side plays a number of matches against British and French rugby league teams, in additions to the Test matches. The next Kangaroo Tour was staged in 1990.

Australia continued its dominance, winning both Test series against Great Britain and France, going through the entire tour undefeated in a repeat of the 1982 Invincibles. The 1986 team became known as "The Unbeatables". In twenty matches they scored 136 tries and conceded only 16, posting 738 points for and 126 against.[1] Terry Lamb became the first player to appear in every match on a Kangaroo Tour.

The team was coached by 1956/57 Kangaroo Tourist Don Furner, who also coached the Canberra Raiders in the NSWRL, and were captained by Queensland captain Wally Lewis. This was the first time a Queensland based player had captained a Kangaroo Tour since Tom Gorman led the 1929/1930 Tour. Tour managers were Gordon Treichel and J. Fleming.

Squad[edit]

Of the 28 players selected to go on the tour 23 were from clubs of the New South Wales Rugby League and 5 were from clubs of the Brisbane Rugby League. This was the last time players from Queensland based competitions were selected for a Kangaroo Tour.

Player Club Position(s) Games (sub) Tries Goals Points
New South Wales Greg Alexander Penrith Halfback 9 (1) 10 5 50
Queensland Gary Belcher Canberra Fullback 10 6 0 24
Queensland Martin Bella North Sydney Prop 8 (2) 1 0 4
New South Wales Noel Cleal Manly-Warringah Second-row 7 3 0 12
New South Wales Phil Daley Manly-Warringah Prop 7 0 0 0
New South Wales Les Davidson South Sydney Prop, Second-row 14 0 0 0
Queensland Greg Dowling Wynnum-Manly (Qld) Prop 11 1 0 4
New South Wales Paul Dunn Canterbury-Bankstown Prop, Second-row 11 0 0 0
New South Wales Ben Elias Balmain Hooker 10 3 0 12
New South Wales Steve Folkes Canterbury-Bankstown Second-row 6 1 0 4
New South Wales Des Hasler Manly-Warringah Halfback, Lock 8 4 0 16
New South Wales Garry Jack Balmain Fullback 12 12 0 48
New South Wales Brett Kenny Parramatta Five-eighth, Centre 14 8 0 32
Queensland Les Kiss North Sydney Wing 4 1 0 4
New South Wales Terry Lamb Canterbury-Bankstown Five-eighth 20 19 20 116
New South Wales Paul Langmack Canterbury-Bankstown Lock 10 3 0 12
Queensland Wally Lewis (c) Wynnum-Manly (Qld) Five-eighth 11 6 0 24
Queensland Bob Lindner Wynnum-Manly (Qld) Lock, Second-row 10 6 0 24
Queensland Mal Meninga Canberra Centre, Second-row 13 9 7 50
Queensland Gene Miles Wynnum-Manly (Qld) Centre 13 8 0 32
New South Wales Chris Mortimer Canterbury-Bankstown Centre, Wing 9 4 0 32
Queensland Bryan Niebling Redcliffe (Qld) Second-row, Prop 10 2 0 8
New South Wales Michael O'Connor St George Centre, Wing 14 13 59 170
New South Wales Steve Roach Balmain Prop 8 3 0 12
Queensland Dale Shearer Manly-Warringah Wing, Centre, Fullback 13 12 0 48
New South Wales Royce Simmons Penrith Hooker 10 1 0 4
New South Wales Paul Sironen Balmain Second-row 10 0 0 0
New South Wales Peter Sterling Parramatta Halfback 10 3 0 12

By Club[edit]

The touring side was represented by 18 New South Welshmen (N) and 10 Queenslanders (Q).

Great Britain[edit]

Before flying to England, the Kangaroos played their second ever test against Papua New Guinea at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby on 4 October. In front of 17,000 fans, the record attendance for the venue, the Wally Lewis led Kangaroos defeated the Kumuls 62-12. The Kangaroos scored 12 tries to 1 with Noel Cleal, Les Kiss and Michael O'Connor each scoring a double. O'Connor also kicked 7 goals from 12 attempts for a personal haul of 22 points. Chris Mortimer, Paul Dunn and Bob Lindner made their test debuts, with Lindner named man of the match.[2]

The Australian team for the test against Papua New Guinea was:
Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Gene Miles, Chris Mortimer, Les Kiss, Wally Lewis (c), Des Hasler, Steve Roach, Royce Simmons, Bryan Niebling, Paul Dunn, Noel Cleal, Bob Lindner. Res: Mal Meninga, Paul Sironen

The crowd of 50,583 for the first test at the famous Old Trafford ground in Manchester, set a record for an international match on British soil.[3] The Ashes series against Great Britain saw an record aggregate Ashes series crowd in England with 101,560 attending the three tests.

Date Opponent Score Ground Referee Crowd Report
Oct 12 Wigan 18-26 Central Park, Wigan J. Holdsworth 30,662
Oct 15 Hull KR 10-46 Craven Park, Hull G. Kershaw 6,868
Oct 19 Leeds 0-40 Headingley Stadium, Leeds R. Whitfield 10,974
Oct 21 Cumbria 12-48 Craven Park, Barrow-in-Furness J. McDonald 4,233
Oct 25 Great Britain 16-38 Old Trafford, Manchester J. Rascagneres (FRA) 50,583
Oct 29 Halifax 2-36 Thrum Hall, Halifax M. Beaumont 7,193
Nov 2 St Helens 8-32 Knowsley Road, St. Helens F. Lindop 15,370
Nov 4 Oldham 16-22 The Watersheddings, Oldham K. Allatt 5,678
Nov 8 Great Britain 4-34 Elland Road, Leeds J. Rascagneres (FRA) 30,808
Nov 12 Widnes 4-20 Naughton Park, Widnes G. Berry 10,268
Nov 16 Hull 0-48 The Boulevard, Hull J. McDonald 8,216
Nov 18 Bradford Northern 0-38 Odsal Stadium, Bradford D. Fox 10,663
Nov 22 Great Britain 15-24 Central Park, Wigan J. Rascagneres (FRA) 20,169

The Ashes series[edit]

25 Oct 1986
Australia 38 - 16 Great Britain
Tries:
Gene Miles (3), Michael O'Connor (3)
Garry Jack
Goals:
Michael O'Connor (5/9)
Tries:
Joe Lydon, Tony Marchant
Garry Schofield
Goals:
Lee Crooks (1/3)
Henderson Gill (1/1)
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 50,583
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres (France)
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis (Aus)

AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Les Kiss, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Steve Roach, Noel Cleal, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Mal Meninga, Terry Lamb

GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Tony Marchant, Garry Schofield, Ellery Hanley, Henderson Gill, Tony Myler, Deryck Fox, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), John Fieldhouse, Lee Crooks, Ian Potter, Andy Goodway.


8 November 1986
Australia 34 - 4 Great Britain
Tries:
Garry Jack (2), Brett Kenny, Wally Lewis
Bob Lindner, Michael O'Connor
Goals:
Michael O'Connor (5/8)
Tries:
Garry Schofield
Goals:
Lee Crooks (0/1)
Elland Road, Leeds
Attendance: 30,808
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres (France)
Man of the Match: Noel Cleal (Aus)

Great Britain coach Maurice Bamford surprisingly made only one change to the team that had lost heavily in Manchester. Centre Ellery Hanley was ruled out through injury and he was replaced by St Helens winger Barry Ledger, with Tony Marchant moving from the wing to partner Garry Schofield in the centres. Bamford came in for heavy criticism from former Great Britain and England internationals for his selections. For the Kangaroos, Dale Shearer made his return to the test team replacing the injured Les Kiss on the wing, while Canterbury-Bankstown forward Paul Dunn returned to the team in the front row replacing the injured Steve Roach.

The Kangaroos ran riot in the second test, wrapping up The Ashes with a six tries to one, 34-4 win in front of 30,808 at Elland Road. The Lions only try came late in the game when Kangaroos fullback Garry Jack, who had scored two tries, pushed a pass 10 metres from his line to Michael O'Connor. The Aussie winger dropped the ball (which was at his knees) and it was pounced upon by Schofield.

In his television commentary of the game, former dual rugby international and 1959-60 Kangaroo tour vice-captain Rex Mossop summed up the game when calling one of Australia's tries, stating that "Australia has decimated, disected and diabolically destroyed this Great Britain side today"'.

AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Dale Shearer, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Noel Cleal, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Mal Meninga

GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Barry Ledger, Garry Schofield, Tony Marchant, Henderson Gill, Tony Myler, Deryck Fox, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), John Fieldhouse, Lee Crooks, Ian Potter, Andy Goodway. Rep: Shaun Edwards, Andy Platt


This match also counted as part of the 1985–88 Rugby League World Cup. It was the only match of the series played at a regular rugby league ground, the first two tests having been played in soccer stadiums to take advantage of their greater spectator capacity. It was also the last Ashes test in England played at a club home ground until 2001.

22 November 1986
Australia 24 - 15 Great Britain
Tries:
Wally Lewis, Bob Lindner
Gene Miles, Dale Shearer
Goals:
Michael O'Connor (4/5)
Tries:
Garry Schofield (2)
Goals:
Joe Lydon (2/3)
Henderson Gill (1/1)
Field Goals:
Garry Schofield
Central Park, Wigan
Attendance: 20,169
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres (France)
Man of the Match: Paul Dunn (Aus)

The only change to the Kangaroos from the second test win was Mal Meninga coming off the bench into the second row to replace the injured Noel Cleal (broken arm) with South Sydney's Les Davidson named on the bench in his test debut. Australian coach Don Furner explained that moving Meninga to the back row meant there was little disruption to the team as both Mal and "Crusher" were big, fast, skillful and played a similar style of game. Maurice Bamford made five changes to the Lions, including the recall of halfback Andy Gregory.

Like the 1982 Ashes series, the third test was the most genuine of the three tests played, with the Lions putting in a much improved performance and the game was in the balance until French referee Julien Rascagneres allowed a contentious try to Australian captain Wally Lewis midway through the second half. Lewis' try in Wigan saw him become just the second Australian after legendary winger Ken Irvine (1963-64 Kangaroo tour) to score a try in each test of an Ashes series.

AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Dale Shearer, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Mal Meninga, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Les Davidson

GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Henderson Gill, Garry Schofield, David Stephenson, John Basnett, Tony Myler, Andy Gregory, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), Lee Crooks, Chris Burton, Andy Goodway, Harry Pinner. Rep: Ian Potter

France[edit]

The Australians' win over France in the final match of the tour, which counted as part of the ongoing 1985-88 World Cup tournament, was a record margin for a test match.[4]

Date Opponent Score Ground Referee Crowd Report
Nov 26 Qres XIII 4-36 800
Nov 30 France 2-44 Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan F. Lindrop (ENG) 5,000
Dec 3 Province 5-42 1,500
Dec 5 Mid-Pyrenees 2-12 1,000
Dec 7 France B 0-50 2,000
Dec 10 Aquitaine 8-50 500
Dec 13 France 0-52 Stade d'Albert Domec, Carcassonne F. Lindrop (ENG) 5,000

French Tests[edit]

30 November 1986
Australia 44 - 2 France
Tries:
Michael O'Connor (3), Bob Lindner (2)
Gene Miles (2), Garry Jack
Goals:
Michael O'Connor (4/9)
Goals:
Gilles Dumas (1/2)
Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
Attendance: 5,000
Referee/s: F Lindrop (England)

AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Dale Shearer, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Michael O'Connor, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Les Davidson, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Paul Sironen

FRANCE: Gilles Dumas, Didier Couston, Roger Palisses, Alain Maury, Hugues Ratier, Dominique Espugna, Patrick Entat, Max Chantal, Thierry Bernabe, Jean-Luc Rabot, Guy Laforgue (c), Serge Titeux, Daniel Verdes. Rep: Serge Bret, Francis Laforgue

13 December 1986
Australia 52 - 0 France
Tries:
Dale Shearer (4), Garry Jack (3), Steve Folkes
Bryan Niebling, Michael O'Connor
Goals:
Michael O'Connor (6/12)
Stade d'Albert Domec, Carcassonne
Attendance: 5,000
Referee/s: F Lindrop (England)

AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Dale Shearer, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Michael O'Connor, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Steve Folkes, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Les Davidson

FRANCE: Patrick Wosniak, Sebastian Rodriguez, Philippe Fourquet, Francis Laforgue, Hugues Ratier, Roger Palisses, Christian Scicchitano, Max Chantal, Thierry Bernabe, Serge Titeux, Guy Laforgue (c), Daniel Verdes, Philippe Gestas. Rep: Gilles Dumas, Yves Storer

Statistics[edit]

Leading Try Scorer

Leading Point Scorer

Largest Attendance

Largest Club Game Attendance

References[edit]

External links[edit]