1990 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France
The 1990 Kangaroo Tour was the seventeenth Kangaroo Tour, where the Australian national rugby league team travelled to Europe and played eighteen matches against British and French rugby league teams, in addition to three Test matches. It followed a tour of 1986 and the next was staged in 1994.
This series is the closest the British team came to reclaiming the The Ashes since 1970. Great Britain won the first test at Wembley and in the second test the match was tied at 10 all until the final minutes when Australia scored a late try to win the game. Australia then went on to win the third and deciding Test. Australia won both Test series against Great Britain and France, suffering only one loss (against Great Britain in the first Test), and remaining undefeated against British clubs in a streak stretching back to 1978.
The squad's leadership
The team was coached by Bob Fulton making his third Kangaroo Tour, though his first as coach. Mal Meninga was making a record third consecutive tour and his first as captain. Keith Barnes was team manager, along with Les Stokes.
Other staff included trainers Shaun McRae, Brian Hollis and the boxing trainer Johnny Lewis as team conditioner. Nathan Gibbs was team doctor and had made the controversial decision during the selection medicals to rule Kangaroo stalwart and likely captain Wally Lewis unfit for the tour and thus unable to make a third consecutive tour alongside Meninga.
The Ashes series against Great Britain saw a record aggregate crowd of 133,684 attending the test series, easily beating the previous record of 101,560 set on the 1986 Kangaroo Tour.
|7 October||St Helens||4-34||Knowsley Road, St Helens||J. Holdsworth||15,219|
|10 October||Wakefield Trinity||18-36||Belle Vue, Wakefield||K. Allatt||7,083|
|14 October||Wigan||6-34||Central Park, Wigan||C. Morris||25,101|
|17 October||Cumbria||10-42||Derwent Park, Workington||J. Smith||6,750|
|21 October||Leeds||10-22||Headingley Stadium, Leeds||R, Tennant||16,307|
|27 October||Great Britain||19-12||Wembley Stadium, London||A. Sablayrolles (FRA)||54,569|
|31 October||Warrington||6-26||Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington||D. Carter||10,200|
|4 November||Castleford||8-28||Wheldon Road, Castleford||G. Kershaw||9,033|
|6 November||Halifax||18-36||Thrum Hall, Halifax||B. Galtress||8,730|
|10 November||Great Britain||10-14||Old Trafford, Manchester||A. Sablayrolles (FRA)||46,615|
|14 November||Hull||4-34||The Boulevard, Hull||D. Campbell||13,000|
|18 November||Widnes||8-15||Naughton Park, Widnes||J. Kendrew||14,666|
|24 November||Great Britain||0-14||Elland Road, Leeds||A. Sablayrolles (FRA)||32,500|
The Ashes series
In the first rugby league international played at Wembley for 17 years Ellery Hanley inspired a stirring first Test win in front of 54,569.
27 October 1990
|Australia||12 - 19||Great Britain|
Mark McGaw, Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga (2/4)
Paul Eastwood (2), Martin Offiah
Paul Eastwood (3/6)
Wembley Stadium, London
Referee/s: A Sablayrolles (France)
Despite a brilliant individual try in the second half to Mark McGaw and a try to Mal Meninga, the Aussies were in trouble all day with the Lions, led by inspirational captain Ellery Hanley and 5/8 Garry Schofield, led from the start with tries to Martin Offiah and a double to Paul Eastwood, who scored the winning try and also kicked 3 goals, giving Great Britain its second straight win over Australia and ending any hopes that the 1990 Tour would emulate the unbeaten 1982 and 1986 tours.
AUSTRALIA: Gary Belcher, Michael Hancock, Mal Meninga (c), Mark McGaw, Andrew Ettingshausen, Ricky Stuart, Allan Langer, Martin Bella, Kerrod Walters, Steve Roach, John Cartwright, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner. Rep: Glenn Lazarus, Des Hasler, Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer.
GREAT BRITAIN: Steve Hampson, Paul Eastwood, Daryl Powell, Carl Gibson, Martin Offiah, Garry Schofield, Andy Gregory, Karl Harrison, Lee Jackson, Paul Dixon, Roy Powell, Denis Betts, Ellery Hanley (c). Rep: Kevin Ward, Karl Fairbank.
10 November 1990
|Australia||14 - 10||Great Britain|
Dale Shearer, Cliff Lyons
Mal Meninga (1/4)
Paul Dixon, Paul Loughlin
Paul Eastwood (1/3)
Great Britain were poised to reclaim The Ashes after twenty years with an intercept try by Paul Loughlin late in the match. Winger Paul Eastwood missed a simple conversion attempt that would have given his team the lead with time running out. However the match remained tied at 10 all until in the final minutes when Ricky Stuart charged through a gap in the Lions defense and ran 70m before passing to Mal Meninga in support who completed the length-of-the-field try to seal the match for Australia and force the series into a decider.
GREAT BRITAIN: Steve Hampson, Paul Eastwood, Daryl Powell, Carl Gibson, Martin Offiah, Garry Schofield, Andy Gregory, Karl Harrison, Lee Jackson, Andy Platt, Denis Betts, Paul Dixon, Ellery Hanley (c). Rep: Kevin Ward, Paul Loughlin.
24 November 1990
|Australia||14 - 0||Great Britain|
Andrew Ettingshausen, Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga (1/3)
In the third and final test of The Ashes series, Australia kept alive their series streak (not having lost The Ashes since Great Britain won in 1970 and not having lost them in England since 1959), with a 14-0 win in front of a packed Elland Road in Leeds. Australia ran in three tries to nil with Mal Meninga, Andrew Ettingshausen and Benny Elias all crossing the line while the lions rarely threatened the Kangaroos line in the wet and slippery conditions.
Kangaroos captain Mal Meninga became just the third Australian to score a try in each test of an Ashes series following on from legendary try-scoring winger Ken Irvine (1963), and the most unlikely of the trio, front-row forward Sam Backo (1988).
AUSTRALIA: Gary Belcher, Dale Shearer, Mal Meninga (c), Laurie Daley, Andrew Ettingshausen, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Glenn Lazarus, Ben Elias, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner, Brad Mackay. Rep: David Gillespie, Des Hasler, Mark Sargent, Greg Alexander
GREAT BRITAIN: Steve Hampson, Paul Eastwood, Daryl Powell, Carl Gibson, Martin Offiah, Garry Schofield, Andy Gregory, Karl Harrison, Lee Jackson, Andy Platt, Denis Betts, Paul Dixon, Ellery Hanley (c). Rep: Mike Gregory, Roy Powell, Jonathan Davies.
|27 November||President's XIII||18-46||Corbeil-Essonnes Stadium, Paris||M. Millett||3,000|
|2 December||France B||6-78||Georges Livet Stadium, Lyon||M. Agali||2,000|
|2 December||France||4-60||Parc de Sports, Avignon||J Holdsworth (GB)||3,000|
|5 December||Languedoc-Roussillon||9-38||Carcassonne||M. Chamfreau||1,000|
|9 December||France||10-34||Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan||J Holdsworth (GB)||3,428|
2 December 1990
|Australia||60 - 4||France|
Greg Alexander (3), Gary Belcher (2)
Andrew Ettingshausen (2), Paul Sironen
Dale Shearer, David Gillespie
Greg Alexander (7)
AUSTRALIA: Gary Belcher, Andrew Ettingshausen, Mal Meninga (c), Laurie Daley, Dale Shearer, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Glenn Lazarus, Ben Elias, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, David Gillespie, Brad Mackay. Rep: Greg Alexander, Des Hasler, Mark Geyer, Mark Sargent
FRANCE: Michel Roses, Cyril Pons, Serge Bret, Denis Bienes, Alain Bouzer, David Fraisse, Patrick Entat (c), Serge Titeux, Thierry Valero, Christian Calvo, Daniel Divet, Daniel Verdes, Jacques Molinier. Rep: Marc Tisseyre, Patrick Marginet, Jacques Rouscayrol.
9 December 1990
|Australia||34 - 10||France|
Brad Mackay, Andrew Ettingshausen
Mal Meninga, Steve Roach
Dale Shearer, Greg Alexander
Greg Alexander (3)
Patrick Entat, Cyril Pons
AUSTRALIA: Gary Belcher, Greg Alexander, Mal Meninga (c), Dale Shearer, Andrew Ettingshausen, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Glenn Lazarus, Ben Elias, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner, Brad Mackay. Rep: David Gillespie, Chris Johns, Des Hasler, Mark Sargent
FRANCE: David Fraisse, Cyril Pons, Serge Bret, Guy Delaunay, Alain Bouzer, Jacques Molinier, Patrick Entat (c), Thiery Buttignol, Thierry Valero, Marc Tisseyre, Francis Lope, Daniel Divet, Daniel Verdes. Rep: Denis Bienes, Patrick Marginet.
Leading Try Scorer
- 15 by Andrew Ettingshausen
Leading Point Scorer
- 156 by Greg Alexander (14 tries, 50 goals)
Largest Club Game Attendance
- Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals - in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Rothfield, Phil (2010-08-23). "Buzz names his top 10 NRL chokers". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "1. Great Britain v Australia, Old Trafford, 10 November 1990". Great Sporting Moments: Rugby League (London: independent.co.uk). 11 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- 1990 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain and France at rl1908.com
- 1990 Kangaroo Tour at rlhalloffame.org.uk
- Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney
- McGregor, Adrian (1991) Simply The Best, The 1990 Kangaroos, Uni of Queensland Press pages 225-225
- Belcher, Gary (1991) Kangaroo Confidential Gary Belcher's Tour Diary, pages 138-150
- Cochrane, Brett & Kerr, James (1991) Twenty Eight Heroes, Cochrane & Kerr, Sydney