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Ken Catchpole

1939 – 2017

Ken Catchpole OAM (1939-2017), former rugby union international, excelled at various sports in his school years in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, but began to show real prowess in rugby as a student at Scot’s College in the 1950s. Selected for the GPS first XV in his final years at high school, he started playing club rugby for Randwick in 1958 and the following year made his debut for New South Wales in a match against the British Lions. Selected for the Wallabies, aged 21, in 1961, he became one of the few players to make their Test debut as captain, leading the side to three victories over Fiji at home and then on a tour of South Africa. Declared by one pundit to be ‘the greatest halfback the world has known’ following Australia’s wins over Wales and England in 1966/67, Catchpole was known for his quick and supremely accurate passing, and in combination with fly-half, Phil Hawthorne, is held to have engineered a number of historic victories, such as a series win against the touring Springboks in 1965. Having played a total of 27 Tests with the Wallabies (thirteen as captain), Catchpole suffered a career-ending leg injury in a match against the All Blacks in 1968. A member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame since 1985, Catchpole was added to the Wall of Fame at the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham in 2004; became one of the first five players inducted into the Wallabies Hall of Fame in 2005; and in 2013 he became a member of the IRB Hall of Fame, along with his friend and former teammate, John Thornett.

Updated 2019
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