1990 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France

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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 club and representative rugby league teams, in addition to three Test matches against Great Britain and two Tests against the French. It followed the tour of 1986 and the next was staged in 1994.

This series was the closest the British team came to reclaiming The Ashes since last winning in Australia in 1970. Great Britain won the first Test at Wembley Stadium and in the second Test at Old Trafford in Manchester 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 easily win the third and deciding Test and retain The Ashes. Australia won both Test series against Great Britain and France, suffering one loss (against Great Britain in the first Test), and remaining undefeated in tour matches against British clubs in a streak stretching back to midway through the 1978 tour.

The 17th Kangaroo tour was televised back to Australia on the Ten Network with commentary provided by Graeme Hughes and David Morrow. Also joining the commentary team at various stages, including the second Ashes Test at Old Trafford, were then Manly-Warringah coach and former New Zealand Kiwis coach Graham Lowe, and the captain of 1986 Kangaroos, Wally Lewis. The ABC televised the tests against France with Warren Boland providing commentary.

The squad's leadership[edit]

The team was coached by Bob Fulton making his third Kangaroo Tour, though his first as coach (Fulton had been captain of the Kangaroos on his previous tour as a player in 1978). Mal Meninga was making a record third consecutive tour and his first as captain, while Benny Elias was named as the tours vice-captain. As per custom, the Australian Rugby League appointed two tour managers, one each from the Queensland and New South Wales rugby leagues. Former Kangaroo captain Keith Barnes was team manager from NSW, while Les Stokes was the manager from Qld.

Other staff included trainers Shaun McRae, "The Sheriff" Brian Hollis, and World Champion boxing trainer Johnny Lewis as team conditioner. Manly-Warringah club doctor Nathan Gibbs, a former South Sydney and Parramatta forward who had retired from playing in 1984 to concentrate on his medical studies, was team doctor. Gibbs 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.

Touring squad[edit]

Player Club Position(s) Tests Games Tries Goals F/Goals Points
Greg Alexander Penrith colours.svg Penrith Panthers Fullback, Halfback, Wing 4 17 14 50 156
Gary Belcher Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders Fullback 5 11 6 1 1 27
Martin Bella Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Prop 1 11 0
Mark Carroll South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs Second-row, Prop 0 6 2 8
John Cartwright Penrith colours.svg Penrith Panthers Second-row 1 9 1 4
Laurie Daley Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders Five-eighth, Centre 6 6 0
Ben Elias (vc) Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers Hooker 4 10 2 8
Andrew Ettingshausen Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Wing, Centre 5 12 15 60
Brad Fittler Penrith colours.svg Penrith Panthers Centre, Five-eighth, Lock 0 8 8 32
Mark Geyer Penrith colours.svg Penrith Panthers Second-row 1 11 4 16
David Gillespie Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Second-row, Prop 3 10 1 4
Michael Hancock Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Wing 1 6 4 16
Des Hasler Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Halfback, Lock, Wing 4 13 3 12
Chris Johns Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Wing, Centre 1 11 4 16
Allan Langer Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Halfback 1 11 4 16
Glenn Lazarus Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders Prop 5 13 2 8
Bob Lindner Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies Lock, Second-row 4 10 2 8
Cliff Lyons Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Five-eighth, Centre 4 8 3 12
Brad Mackay St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Lock 4 12 4 16
Mal Meninga (c) Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders Centre 5 11 8 16 64
Mark McGaw Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Centre 1 6 1 4
Steve Roach Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers Prop 5 10 2 8
Mark Sargent Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights Prop 3 11 6 1 25
Dale Shearer Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Wing, Centre 5 13 9 1 38
Paul Sironen Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers Second-row 5 10 3 12
Ricky Stuart Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders Halfback, Five-eighth 5 9 1 5
Kerrod Walters Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Hooker 1 8 2 8
Kevin Walters Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Five-eighth, Halfback, Centre 0 8 5 20

By club[edit]

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

Mal Meninga was making his third Kangaroo Tour having also toured in 1982 and 1986. Greg Alexander, Gary Belcher, Martin Bella, Ben Elias, Des Hasler, Bob Lindner, Steve Roach, Dale Shearer and Paul Sironen were all 1986 tourists. For the rest of the squad it was their first ever Kangaroo Tour.

The Kangaroos went away with four club halfbacks in the squad. Test incumbent Allan Langer, Canberra's former Wallaby and dual premiership winning half Ricky Stuart, and former test halfbacks Des Hasler and Greg Alexander, though Hasler's ability to play almost anywhere in the backline as well as in the back row saw him as the team's utility player, while Alexander would play most of the tour as the backup fullback to Gary Belcher as well as two games on the wing against Widnes in the final club game on the English leg and also in the second test against France in the final game of the tour.

Great Britain[edit]

The Ashes series against Great Britain saw a record aggregate crowd of 133,684 attending the Test series, easily beating the previous record of 114,883 set during the 1948–49 Kangaroo tour and was some 66,130 more than had attended the 1988 Ashes series in Australia. As with the 1982 and 1986 tours, the game against Wigan at Central Park drew the biggest club game attendance of the Kangaroo Tour with a crowd of 25,101.

The tour took place during the 1990–91 Rugby Football League season.[1][2]

St Helens: Gary Connolly, Alan Hunte, Tea Ropati, Phil Veivers, Les Quirk, Jonathan Griffiths, John Harrison, Kevin Ward, Paul Groves, Jon Neill, Shane Cooper (c), Bernard Dwyer, Paul Forber. Res – George Mann, Mark Bailey, Ian Connor, Roy Heggerty. Coach – Mike McLennan

Australia: Gary Belcher, Andrew Ettingshausen, Mal Meninga (c), Mark McGaw, Michael Hancock, Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Steve Roach, Kerrod Walters, Martin Bella, Paul Sironen, John Cartwright, Bob Lindner. Res – Glenn Lazarus, Brad Mackay, Chris Johns, Greg Alexander

Kangaroos skipper Mal Meninga, a crowd favourite at St Helens after playing with the club in 1984–85 and helping them to win the Premiership and Lancashire Cup, returned to Knowsley Road and scored two tries, including the opening try of the tour. Andrew Ettingshausen came into the side on the wing in place of Dale Shearer who was ruled out with a hamstring strain, and crossed for a hat-trick of tries.[4]

Wakefield Trinity: Chris Perry, Phil Eden, Andy Mason, Ged Byrne, David Jones, Tracy Lazenby, Mark Conway, Adrian Shelford, John Thompson, Nigel Bell, Nicholas Du Toit, Andy Kelly (c), Gary Price. Res – Andy Wilson, Richard Slater, Billy Conway, Lynton Morris. Coach – David Topliss

Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Kevin Walters, Brad Fittler, Chris Johns, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Mark Sargent, Ben Elias (c), Glenn Lazarus, Mark Carroll, David Gillespie, Brad Mackay. Res – Mark Geyer, Mark McGaw, Des Hasler

Referee Kevin Allatt sent 4 players off during this game and sin binned 3 others. Sent off were John Thompson (WT), Mark Carroll (Aus), Ricky Stuart (Aus) and David Gillespie (Aus) who was actually sent off for back chatting the referee after the game had finished. Billy Conway (WT), Des Hasler and Dale Shearer (Aus) were also sent to the sin-bin during the game. In a media interview after the game, Australian coach Bob Fulton said it was something like out of Fawlty Towers and that he couldn't believe that the referee lost control.

Wigan: Steve Hampson, David Myers, Kevin Iro, Joe Lydon, David Marshall, Shaun Edwards, Andy Gregory, Ian Lucas, Martin Dermott, Kelvin Skerrett, Andy Goodway, Dennis Betts, Ellery Hanley (c). Res – Mark Preston, Bobby Goulding, Ian Gildart, Mike Forshaw. Coach – John Monie

Australia: Gary Belcher, Michael Hancock, Mal Meninga (c), Mark McGaw, Andrew Ettingshausen, Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Martin Bella, Kerrod Walters, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, John Cartwright, Bob Lindner. Res – Glenn Lazarus, Brad Mackay, Ricky Stuart, Greg Alexander

The match against English power club Wigan was generally regarded as the Kangaroos "4th Test" in England. However, as the team had done a week earlier against St Helens, the Kangaroos won the match easily with Wigan's only score coming from a penalty try to Shaun Edwards who was illegally pulled down in a chase to the ball by Bob Lindner. Joe Lydon converted and Wigan led 6-0, but two tries to Ettingshausen and singles to Gary Belcher and Michael Hancock saw the Kangaroos lead 20-6 at half time. And hopes of a Wigan comeback were snuffed out early in the second half when Ettingshausen crossed for his second hat-trick of the tour in just two games. Only Mal Meninga's continued poor goal kicking (3/7 here to follow his 1/6 against St Helens) kept the score from being even greater.[7]

Cumbria: Barry Vickers, Chris Rudd, William Fisher, Neil Rooney, Willie Richardson, Graeme Cameron, Dean Marwood (c), Colin Armstrong, Gary Mounsey, Stephen Howes, Gary Kendall, Peter Riley, Russ Walker. Res – Gary Chambers, Jonathan Neil, Paul Penrice, Norman Lofthouse

Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Cliff Lyons, Brad Fittler, Chris Johns, Kevin Walters, Ricky Stuart, Mark Sargent, Ben Elias (c), David Gillespie, Mark Carroll, Mark Geyer, Des Hasler. Res – Brad Mackay, Glenn Lazarus, Bob Lindner

The match against Cumbria was the 1990 Kangaroos only game against an English county team. The match was played in light rain.

Leeds: John Gallagher, Phil Ford, Simon Irving, Carl Gibson, Vince Fawcett, Garry Schofield (c), Paul Harkin, Roy Powell, Richard Gunn, Steve Molloy, Paul Dixon, Cavill Heugh, Mike Kuiti. Res – Gary Divorty, Paul Delaney, David Creasser, David Young. Coach – David Ward

Australia: Gary Belcher, Michael Hancock, Mark McGaw, Mal Meninga (c), Andrew Ettingshausen, Laurie Daley, Allan Langer, Steve Roach, Kerrod Walters, Martin Bella, Brad Mackay, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner. Res – Ben Elias, Glenn Lazarus, Greg Alexander, David Gillespie

During the game against Leeds at Headingley, the home side led the Kangaroos 10–6 at half time. This was the first time since Hull F.C. led the Kangaroos 7–0 at The Boulevard during game 12 of the 1982 Kangaroo tour that a British team (club, county or test) had led the tourists at half time of a match.

The Ashes series[edit]

After heavy criticism of French referee Alain Sablayrolles (who could not speak English), this would be the final time an Ashes series was refereed by a Frenchman. From the 1992 series referees would be from either Australia, England or New Zealand.

First Test[edit]

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 fans, the largest ever Test attendance in England and breaking the record of 50,583 set at Old Trafford in the first Ashes Test of the 1986 Kangaroo tour.[10]

Lions coach Mal Reilly named the expected side, as did Bob Fulton. However, due to a broken hand suffered by Laurie Daley in the game against Leeds, Fulton elected to play Canberra Raiders halfback Ricky Stuart at Five-eighth in his test debut. Stuart's selection saw him become the 38th Australian dual-rugby international having previously played for The Wallabies (Australian rugby union team) during their 1987 tour of Argentina.

Saturday, 27 October
Great Britain  19 – 12  Australia
Paul Eastwood (2)
Martin Offiah
Paul Eastwood (3/6)
Field Goals:
Garry Schofield
[11] Tries:
Mark McGaw
Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga (2/4)
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 54,569
Referee/s: Alain Sablayrolles France
Man of the Match: Garry Schofield Great Britain colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
Steve Hampson FB Gary Belcher
Paul Eastwood WG Michael Hancock
Daryl Powell CE Mal Meninga (c)
Carl Gibson CE Mark McGaw
Martin Offiah WG Andrew Ettingshausen
Garry Schofield SO Ricky Stuart
Andy Gregory SH Allan Langer
Karl Harrison PR Martin Bella
Lee Jackson HK Kerrod Walters
Paul Dixon PR Steve Roach
Roy Powell SR John Cartwright
Denis Betts SR Paul Sironen
Ellery Hanley (c) LF Bob Lindner
Kevin Ward Int. Glenn Lazarus
Karl Fairbank Int. Des Hasler
Int. Greg Alexander
Int. Dale Shearer
Mal Reilly Coach Bob Fulton

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. The Lions, led by inspirational captain Ellery Hanley and Five-eighth Garry Schofield were in front from the start following tries to Martin Offiah, and a double to Paul Eastwood, who scored the winning try and also kicked 3 goals. This was Great Britain's second straight win over Australia and ended any hopes that the 1990 Tour would emulate the unbeaten 1982 and 1986 Kangaroo tours.

Warrington: David Lyon, Des Drummond, Allan Bateman, Tony Thorniley, Paul Williamson, Chris O'Sullivan, Kevin Ellis, Neil Harmon, Duane Mann, Tony Burke, Paul Cullen, Mike Gregory (c), Robert Jackson. Res – Chris Rudd, Billy McGinty, Mark Thomas, Paul Derbyshire. Coach – Brian Johnson

Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Mal Meninga (c), Kevin Walters, Chris Johns, Brad Fittler, Des Hasler, Mark Sargent, Ben Elias, Glenn Lazarus, Mark Geyer, David Gillespie, Brad Mackay. Res – John Cartwright, Michael Hancock

Despite this being a midweek match just four days after the test at Wembley, Mal Meninga played the game against Warrington at his own request.

Castleford: Steve Larder, St John Ellis, Shaun Irwin, Grant Anderson, David Plange, Graham Steadman, Gary French, Dean Sampson, Kevin Beardmore, Lee Crooks (c), John Joyner, Jeff Hardy, Keith England. Res – Paul Fletcher, Andy Clarke, Martin Ketteridge, Neil Roebuck. Coach – Darryl van der Velde

Australia: Gary Belcher, Andrew Ettingshausen, Mal Meninga (c), Mark McGaw, Dale Shearer, Cliff Lyons, Ricky Stuart, Glenn Lazarus, Ben Elias, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner, Brad Mackay. Res – Martin Bella, Greg Alexander, John Cartwright, Allan Langer

The Kangaroos played with the expected second test lineup. Dale Shearer had replaced Michael Hancock on the wing. Cliff Lyons came in at 5/8 with Ricky Stuart moved to halfback at the expense of Allan Langer. Glenn Lazarus replaced Martin Bella in the front row while Brad Mackay came in at lock with Bob Lindner moved to the second row in place of John Cartwright. Mark McGaw's tour ended after rupturing the Medial ligament in his knee. Unfortunately the injury occurred when his knee came into accidental contact with the head of Glenn Lazarus while the pair were tackling Castleford prop Dean Sampson (who also banged his knee with McGaw's, though without injury). For his part, Lazarus required 17 stitches to bad head wound.

Halifax: Steve Smith, Rob Hutchinson, Mark Elia, Greg Austin, Wilf George, Martin Wood, Roy Southernwood, Dick Fairbank, Seamus McCallion, Brendan Hill, Mike Keebles, Mick Scott, Alan Platt. Res – Tony Mitchell, Richard Milner, Ben Beavers, James Ramshaw. Coach – Peter Roe

Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Chris Johns, Kevin Walters, Michael Hancock, Brad Fittler, Allan Langer (c), Mark Sargent, Kerrod Walters, David Gillespie, John Cartwright, Mark Geyer, Des Hasler. Res – Martin Bella

Halifax were the only 2nd Division team the Kangaroos faced in 1990. The halftime score was 32-6. With Mal Meninga and Ben Elias expected to be named in the second test team, Bob Fulton handed the captaincy for the game to Allan Langer.

Second Test[edit]

Bob Fulton made a number of changes from the first test loss at Wembley. Dale Shearer returned to the wing in place of Michael Hancock. A knee injury against Castleford when his knee had collided with the head of team mate Glenn Lazarus (who suffered a bad cut requiring 17 stitches) had ended centre Mark McGaw's tour with Laurie Daley coming into partner Meninga in the centres despite having a broken bone in his right hand. Cliff Lyons, who had won a premiership with Manly under Fulton in 1987, was called up to make his test debut with Ricky Stuart moving to halfback in place of Allan Langer. Others coming into the side were Benny Elias (hooker) for his first test in two years, Glenn Lazarus (front row and playing in headgear to protect the stitches), while Brad Mackay come in at lock with Bob Lindner moving to the second row at the expense of John Cartwright. Mal Reilly stuck with much of the same side that had won the first test, though injury ruled out Roy Powell which saw the inclusion of Andy Platt into the team in the front row and Paul Dixon dropping back to his preferred second row.

Saturday, 10 November
Great Britain  10 – 14  Australia
Paul Dixon
Paul Loughlin

Paul Eastwood (1/3)
[15] Tries:
Dale Shearer
Cliff Lyons
Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga (1/4)
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 46,615
Referee/s: Alain Sablayrolles France
Man of the Match: Ben Elias Australian colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
Steve Hampson FB Gary Belcher
Paul Eastwood WG Dale Shearer
Daryl Powell CE Mal Meninga (c)
Carl Gibson CE Laurie Daley
Martin Offiah WG Andrew Ettingshausen
Garry Schofield SO Cliff Lyons
Andy Gregory SH Ricky Stuart
Karl Harrison PR Steve Roach
Lee Jackson HK Ben Elias (vc)
Andy Platt PR Glenn Lazarus
Denis Betts SR Paul Sironen
Paul Dixon SR Bob Lindner
Ellery Hanley (c) LF Brad Mackay
Kevin Ward Int.
Paul Loughlin Int.
Mal Reilly Coach Bob Fulton

Dale Shearer made a welcome return to test football when he opened the scoring with a try 18 minutes into the first half. The Lions hit back early in the second half with a try to Dixon who broke through Shearer's tackle and was able to score after Mal Meninga and Gary Belcher had fallen off him after colliding with each other. Australia reclaimed the lead to a brilliant try to Cliff Lyons in his test debut. The ball passed through 12 sets of hands (with Lyons handling it 3 times in the movement) before Andrew Ettingshausen raced down the right wing and centre kicked for Lyons to regather and score beside the posts with Garry Schofield clinging to his waist. With just ten minutes left, Great Britain were poised to reclaim The Ashes after twenty years with an intercept try by replacement centre Paul Loughlin late in the match (Loughlin had come on to replace Martin Offiah who limped off with a leg injury. This forced Carl Gibson to move to the wing). Ricky Stuart had aimed a cut-out pass to Ettingshausen, but Loughlin intercepted it on the half way and raced 50 metres to score, though he was kept out wide due to a converging Laurie Daley. Winger Paul Eastwood (who asked noted goal kicker Loughlin if he wanted to take the kick as it suited his right foot kicking, but the St. Helens centre declined) then sliced a simple conversion attempt to the left of the posts that would have given his team a 12–10 lead with time running out.[16] However the match remained tied at 10–all and after a Garry Schofield touch finder with less than 3 minutes remaining, Great Britain had the Kangaroos pinned only 10 metres out from their own line. After struggling to make ground following the scrum win, Ricky Stuart charged through a gap in the Lions defense and ran 75 metres downfield leaving tiring Lions players (including Ellery Hanley) in his wake before passing to Mal Meninga in support (who legally shouldered Carl Gibson out of the way) to complete a length-of-the-field try that sealed the match for Australia and force the series into a decider. Meninga (who had admitted that he had not been happy with his goal kicking on the tour) missed the conversion of his own try, but it wasn't a factor as the siren sounded to end the match seconds after the kick.[17]

Hull: Richard Gay, Paul Eastwood, Rob Nolan, Brad Webb, Neil Turner, Greg Mackey (c), Patrick Entat, Jon Sharp, Lee Jackson, Russ Walker, Ian Marlow, Steve McNamara, Andy Dannatt. Res – Mike Dixon, Anthony Jackson, Brian Blacker, Phil Windley. Coach – Noel Cleal / Brian Smith

Australia: Greg Alexander, Chris Johns, Brad Fittler, Andrew Ettingshausen, Des Hasler, Kevin Walters, Allan Langer (c), Mark Sargent, Kerrod Walters, Martin Bella, John Cartwright, Mark Geyer, David Gillespie. Res – Mark Carroll

Although Brian Smith was still officially the Hull coach at this time, his assistant Noel Cleal (a member of the 1986 Kangaroos and a premiership winner with Manly Warringah under Bob Fulton in 1987) was given the coaching duties for the game. Cleal would take over as Hull coach at the end of the season when Smith moved back to Sydney to coach St George. At the time of this game, Hull were on top of the RFL premiership ladder.

Widnes: Jonathan Davies, John Devereux, Andy Currier, Darren Wright, David Plange, Harvey Howard, David Hulme, Kurt Sorenson (c), Phil McKenzie, Joe Grima, Emosi Koloto, Richard "Richie" Eyres, Les Holliday. Res – Paul Hulme, Esene Faimalo. Coach – Doug Laughton

Australia: Gary Belcher, Greg Alexander, Mal Meninga (c), Dale Shearer, Andrew Ettingshausen, Cliff Lyons, Allan Langer, Steve Roach, Ben Elias, Glenn Lazarus, Paul Sironen, Bob Lindner, Brad Mackay. Res – Chris Johns, David Gillespie, Martin Bella, Des Hasler

The game was shrouded in controversy. Midway through the second half Paul Sironen was taken from the field with an eye injury and Kangaroos team doctor Nathan Gibbs diagnosed a scratched eye. During the game, Australian captain Mal Meninga had reluctantly made a complaint to referee John Kedrew about Australian players being poked in the eyes when being tackled, as had happened to Sironen (the alleged culprit was Widnes captain Kurt Sorensen who later denied any wrong doing). Kangaroos team management and coach Bob Fulton were furious about the incident after the game, although the matter went no further due to a lack of any conclusive video evidence. The injury put Sironen in doubt for the up-coming third and deciding Ashes test in Leeds.

Third Test[edit]

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 in 1962 and 1963, and the most unlikely of the trio, front-row forward Sam Backo in 1988.

Saturday, 24 November
Great Britain  0 – 14  Australia

[20] Tries:
Andrew Ettingshausen
Mal Meninga
Ben Elias
Mal Meninga (1/3)
Elland Road, Leeds
Attendance: 32,500
Referee/s: Alain Sablayrolles France
Man of the Match: Ricky Stuart Australian colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
Steve Hampson FB Gary Belcher
Paul Eastwood WG Dale Shearer
Daryl Powell CE Mal Meninga (c)
Carl Gibson CE Laurie Daley
Martin Offiah WG Andrew Ettingshausen
Garry Schofield SO Cliff Lyons
Andy Gregory SH Ricky Stuart
Karl Harrison PR Steve Roach
Lee Jackson HK Ben Elias (vc)
Andy Platt PR Glenn Lazarus
Denis Betts SR Paul Sironen
Paul Dixon SR Bob Lindner
Ellery Hanley (c) LF Brad Mackay
Mike Gregory Int. David Gillespie
Roy Powell Int. Des Hasler
Jonathan Davies Int. Mark Sargent
Int. Greg Alexander
Mal Reilly Coach Bob Fulton

Australia's first try to Ettingshausen came when the Kangaroos caught the Lions short in their defensive line. Centre Carl Gibson had received a head knock and was in the hands of the trainers, but unfortunately he was still on the field which did not allow his replacement Jonathan Davies to make up the numbers. Stuart's long pass to Ettingshausen allowed him to skirt around Martin Offiah to score in the corner. Later in the second half, Meninga scored after Garry Schofield had raced out the line to try for an intercept. However the ball got to Cliff Lyons first and Lyons immediately exploited the gap where Schofield should have been and sent Meninga back inside to score under the posts and give Australia a commanding 10–0 lead. In the grandstand, Lions coach Mal Reilly and his assistant Phil Larder could only look on in disbelief. Schofield, who was known for racing out of the line for intercepts, had been warned before the game by both coaches not to race out of the defensive line. With only minutes remaining, Elias put the result beyond doubt when he scooted out of dummy half and scored in the corner to give Australia a well earned 14–0 win.


Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Brad Fittler, Chris Johns, Des Hasler, Kevin Walters, Allan Langer (c), Mark Sargent, Kerrod Walters, Martin Bella, Mark Carroll, Mark Geyer, David Gillespie

Australia: Greg Alexander, Gary Belcher, Brad Fittler, Chris Johns, Des Hasler, Kevin Walters, Allan Langer (c), Mark Sargent, Kerrod Walters, Martin Bella, Mark Carroll, Mark Geyer, David Gillespie

Fullback Greg Alexander (Test fullback Gary Belcher actually played on the wing) had a field day against the French B team in Lyon, crossing for 5 tries and kicking 13 goals from 13 attempts for a personal score of 46 points.

French Tests[edit]

First test[edit]

2 December 1990
France  4 – 60  Australia
David Fraisse

Michel Roses (0/1)
[2] Tries:
Greg Alexander (3)
Gary Belcher (2)
Andrew Ettingshausen (2)
Paul Sironen
Dale Shearer
David Gillespie
Glenn Lazarus
Greg Alexander (7/8)
Mal Meninga (1/3)
Parc de Sports, Avignon
Attendance: 2,200
Referee/s: John Holdsworth England
Man of the Match: Greg Alexander Australian colours.svg
France Position Australia
Michel Roses FB Gary Belcher
Cyril Pons WG Andrew Ettingshausen
Serge Bret CE Mal Meninga (c)
Denis Bienes CE Laurie Daley
Alain Bouzer WG Dale Shearer
David Fraisse SO Cliff Lyons
Patrick Entat (c) SH Ricky Stuart
Serge Titeux PR Glenn Lazarus
Thierry Valero HK Ben Elias
Christian Calvo PR Steve Roach
Daniel Divet SR Paul Sironen
Daniel Verdes SR David Gillespie
Jacques Molinier LF Brad Mackay
Marc Tisseyre Int. Greg Alexander
Patrick Marginet Int. Des Hasler
Jacques Rouscayrol Int. Mark Geyer
Int. Mark Sargent
Coach Bob Fulton

The Kangaroos easily accounted for a gallant, but out-classed French side in the first test in Avignon. Replacement halfback Greg Alexander, who came on midway through the first half for Ricky Stuart who left the field feeling ill, continued his good form and crossed for a hat-trick of tries. He also took over the goal kicking from Mal Meninga and kicked 7/8 giving him a personal points haul of 26 points as the Kangaroos won their 8th straight game against France 60–4.

The only change to the Kangaroos line up from the third test against Great Britain was David Gillespie coming off the bench to replace an injured Bob Lindner, with giant Penrith back row forward Mark Geyer coming onto the bench for his test match debut.

Australia: Greg Alexander, Dale Shearer, Chris Johns, Andrew Ettingshausen, Des Hasler, Brad Fittler, Allan Langer (c), Mark Sargent, Kevin Walters, Martin Bella, Mark Geyer, Mark Carroll, John Cartwright

Second Test[edit]

9 December 1990
France  10 – 34  Australia
Patrick Entat
Cyril Pons

Marc Tisseyre (1/2)
[4] Tries:
Brad Mackay
Andrew Ettingshausen
Mal Meninga
Steve Roach
Dale Shearer
Greg Alexander
Greg Alexander (3/7)
Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
Attendance: 3,428
Referee/s: John Holdsworth England
Man of the Match: Cliff Lyons Australian colours.svg
France Position Australia
David Fraisse FB Gary Belcher
Cyril Pons WG Greg Alexander
Serge Bret CE Mal Meninga (c)
Guy Delaunay CE Dale Shearer
Alain Bouzer WG Andrew Ettingshausen
Jacques Molinier SO Cliff Lyons
Patrick Entat (c) SH Ricky Stuart
Thiery Buttignol PR Glenn Lazarus
Thierry Valero HK Ben Elias
Marc Tisseyre PR Steve Roach
Francis Lope SR Paul Sironen
Daniel Divet SR Bob Lindner
Daniel Verdes LF Brad Mackay
Denis Bienes Int. David Gillespie
Patrick Marginet Int. Chris Johns
Int. Des Hasler
Int. Mark Sargent
Coach Bob Fulton

Against an out-classed French team, Kangaroos coach Bob Fulton allowed himself the luxury of fiddling with the test side for the final game of the tour. Laurie Daley was ruled out with injury which saw Dale Shearer move to the centres with Greg Alexander selected to play in the unfamiliar position of wing. Bob Lindner returned to the side which saw David Gillespie move back to the bench, Mark Geyer was also ruled out with injury and was replaced by speedy outside back Chris Johns for his test debut.

After scoring a first half try, Greg Alexander performed a gymnastic backflip. The Kangaroos won the second test 34–10 against a much more committed French team in Perpignan.[21]


Leading try scorer

Leading point scorer

Largest attendance

Largest club game attendance

Bob Lindner was named the player's player of the tour.


  1. ^ McGregor, Adrian (1991). Simply The Best: The 1990 Kangaroos. Qld: University of Queensland Press. p. 227 Tour Statistics. ISBN 0 7022 2370 0. 
  2. ^ 1948/49 Ashes series at Rugby League Project
  3. ^ St Helens vs Australia
  4. ^ St Helens vs Australia highlights
  5. ^ Wakefield Trinity vs Australia
  6. ^ Wigan vs Australia
  7. ^ Wigan vs Australia highlights
  8. ^ Cumbria vs Australia
  9. ^ Leeds vs Australia
  10. ^ Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals – in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  11. ^ 1st Ashes Test
  12. ^ Warrington vs Australia
  13. ^ Castleford vs Australia
  14. ^ Halifax vs Australia
  15. ^ 2nd Ashes Test
  16. ^ Rothfield, Phil (2010-08-23). "Buzz names his top 10 NRL chokers". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  17. ^ "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. 
  18. ^ Hull vs Australia
  19. ^ Widnes vs Australia
  20. ^ 3rd Ashes Test
  21. ^ 1990 Kangaroo Tour Highlights (France Leg)

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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