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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!'
I cannot believe it was so long ago! But right from a VERY young age at Benneydale and Berhampore in New Zealand I knew I wanted to write and talk about rugby - and I've been doing it all my life. (And many more to come I hope!)
New South Wales and Australia
63 internationals for Australia 1984–93
As captain of the superb Wallaby World Cup-winning team of 1991, Nick Farr-Jones became one of the best-known men of modern rugby. His authority as a player and captain was crowned when he received the cup at Twickenham from Queen Elizabeth II and held it high for the rugby world to see. For Farr-Jones the 12–6 win over England was a culmination of a long pursuit of success for him and Australian rugby. Looking back, it can be seen that his career was regularly signposted with success, and not just in 1991.
Two significant records tumbled for him in 1990. First, in his seventh season as the Wallaby halfback, he took over from the great John Hipwell as Australia’s most-capped player in that vital position. He also became Australia’s most-capped captain, the World Cup final being his 31st appearance as team leader. And he and his partner Michael Lynagh cruised past John Rutherford and Roy Laidlaw’s old record for most tests together for any country as a scrumhalf–flyhalf combination.
Nick Farr-Jones made his first tour to Fiji in 1984 and played his first test on Twickenham against England. He was an immediate success, and in combination with Mark Ella played a vital role in the Wallaby team that went on to win a Grand Slam over British countries. Two years later he helped Australia win the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand.
The elegant yet aggressive style of Farr-Jones marked him as one of the world’s most significant modern players. He was possessed of a slick pass (in the Australian scrumhalf tradition of men who had gonr before him; Cyril Burke, Des Connor, Ken Catchpole and John Hipwell), he was a fast and explosive runner, and had a wide tactical knowledge of the game (including the best ways to exploit the blindside). His strength and fitness, enthusiasm and popularity among his fellow players, not to mention his from-the-front style of captaincy made him one of Australia’s best of all time. Many critics also considered him, in his time, the world’s best halfback. Injury around Rugby World Cup time in 1987 restricted his appearances and performances in that series.
Farr-Jones took over the captaincy of Australia in 1988 and although Wallaby teams under his leadership lost a number of series and games, his own form did not diminish. He could count numerous successes as captain, including the World Cup final of course, plus beating England in Australia in two tests in 1988, and beating Scotland, France and New Zealand at least once on their home soil in a little over 18 months.
Nick Farr-Jones also made a tremendous contribution to Australian rugby by his personal example. He has always been a learned rugby thinker and an eloquent speaker. In the face of the enormous popularity of rugby league in Australia he has always represented his game with true style.
After his career as a player was over he also made a significant contribution as a TV commentator and in local politics and business.
Which club supplied seven players of the 1971 British and Irish Lions touring team to New Zealand - five of whom played all four tests?