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You are here: Home » To 1989-90 Wallaby Peter FitzSimons
This Ten Questions idea is to ask a leading rugby personality; either a player, from the the media or an administrator some questions which may prompt a response from them which we have not heard of before;
Peter, or 'Fitz' as he is widely known generously replied to me while on holiday in France. So typical of a very nice man. His Saturday and Sunday 'FitzFiles' columns in the Sydney Morning Herald are a must to read! His many books are too!
PETER FITZSIMONS: The former Wallaby rugby international forward is now much better known as a prolific writer of biographies and historical works. He lives on Sydney's north shore and readily agreed to respond to KeithQuinnRugby.com's questions.
Dennis Lillee and John Newcombe. I dreamed of opening the bowling for Australia, and winning Wimbledon. True, I achieved neither, but I did once get a very useful 2 wickets for 8 for the Knox Grammar School's Under14 C team, and I also once took a set off Julian Lovell in Fifth Form. And he went on to be AT LEAST one of the top ten tennis players of the Sixth Form at Knox Grammar.
As I write this my wife and I are heading to Donzenac, a little village north of Brive, France where I played rugby for four years in the 1980s. We go back every year. This year we are in a buying mood, for a little house atop a hill, overlooking 'Donza.'
Lack of generosity of spirit.
I have no superstitions, which includes no belief in any religions. I find the likelihood of there being a Magic Sky Daddy up there - of any description - to be literally beyond belief. I have had many discussions on this subject with Nick Farr-Jones and he is mad. Do you hear me? MAD!
My proudest achievements, and greatest are two distinct things. I remain tragically proud of being the only Wallaby sent from the field against the All Blacks for violence. My greatest achievement is to have written 25 books in the last 25 years, not all of them colouring in books.
My late mother's notebook, where she put down her thoughts on various things, for over 70 years.
A just completed book, three happy children, a happy wife, and being on my way back to Donzenac with her. How funny I should say that...!
I have books that have sold really well in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Holland, and sold reasonably well in UK and USA. But I have never had a dinkum international best seller, and I want one! My best chance is the world discovering just how extraordinary the saga of the shipwreck of the BATAVIA is, off the west coast of Australia in 1629. Please buy it and TELL EVERYONE!
One is; "There is no problem so great that enough gin 'n tonics can't fix them in the short term!' And...'The Art of Writing is the Art of Rewriting!'
In Amsterdam the Farah Palmer-led Black Ferns blitzed USA 44-12 in the final. Out of 5 games played in 14 days the 44 score was NZ's lowest in any game!
Queensland and Australia
86 internationals for Australia 1991-2001
One of Australian rugby’s most recognizable and powerful rugby personalities, the modest, lanky Queenslander John Eales had a career at the top which spanned more than a decade and included playing in three World Cups. That in itself is a superb achievement but when the winning of the World Cup twice, as well as being captain once, are added in, his world status is further elevated.
John Eales was a 21 year old in just his second season of senior football when he played his first test on his home ground of Ballymore in Brisbane, against Wales in July of 1991. The Wallabies won 63-6 and followed that with a 40-15 win six days later in the second test in Sydney. A fortnight later and young Eales had outjumped the fast-rising New Zealand lock forward Ian Jones as Australia stormed to a 21-12.
The speed of his rise continued. By November that year he had played a World Cup final and after only being an international player for just a week over three months he had shared in the 12-6 win over England at Twickenham.
In many respects his career never looked back from that heady start. His play, as a tall leaping lock forward was always strong and authoritative, his goal-kicking from the lock forward position was often a real bonus to his Queensland and Australian teams. One time, early in his career, in a Brisbane club game, he let fly with a dropped goal attempt from half way. The ball flew high and true between the posts. The modest Eales dismissed the kick as if it were nothing. When he took over the captaincy of his country he was almost as laconic in accepting the honour. Not that Eales wasn’t proud, he was quietly delighted. He took to leadership as if to the manner born. It brought out in himself an ability to also bring quiet influence, confidence and respect from his teammates. A number of seasoned Australian writers rate him among their very best captains of all time. Those same writers say he is the best forward that country has ever produced.
Certainly as a player Eales was a true utility, playing in more than one position in the forward pack, (lock and number eight forward) yet he was also a multi-skilled performer around the field. He had such talent that somewhere on one of his journeys one of his mates called him ‘Nobody’ but it was not a reference to his quiet and shy manner. The name was a shortened version of ‘nobody’s perfect.’ The name was a backhanded compliment to his rare gifts.
John Eales played everywhere in the rugby world and, as already listed, had probably more success than any other player. By the time he reached the 1999 Rugby World Cup he was one of the most familiar faces of the world game. But retirement was looming. He had only reached the final’s series after a long and careful buildup recovering from a shoulder injury. But he played the World Cup with more than his usual authority and vigour; at one point it the final against Wales in Cardiff he demanded of the referee; Andre Watson of South Africa, that he should look closely at the tactics of the French players; ‘if you do not look at their foul play I will take my team off the field.’ Coming from Eales it was absolute that something was going on.
When the Wallabies won by the resounding margin of 35-12 John Eales took the Cup from Queens Elizabeth II and held it high. Though he played on for one more season that was the summit of his superb career.
His total of 86 test matches was then a Wallaby record for a forward; only the winger David Campese had played more. (Only Tim Horan and Jason Little were also in two World Cup winning teams; but does Eales being captain in one final just lift him a little higher?)
Dr Danie Craven is often called 'The Father of South African Rugby' - what was he a doctor of?