Tony Shaw (rugby union)

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Tony Shaw
Tony Shaw.jpg
Birth nameAnthony Alexander Shaw
Date of birth (1953-03-23) 23 March 1953 (age 66)
Place of birth Brisbane, Queensland
School Gregory Terrace
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Senior career
1973–85 Brisbane Brothers ()
Provincial / State sides
1973–82 Queensland 89 ()
National team(s)
1973–82 Australia 36 (8)

Anthony Alexander Shaw AM is an Australian former rugby union player. A Queensland state and national representative flanker, Shaw captained the national side consistently from 1978 to 1981.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.

Australia national rugby union team national team representing Australia in rugby union

The Australia national rugby union team, nicknamed the Wallabies, is controlled by Rugby Australia. The team first played at Sydney in 1899, winning their first test match against the touring British Isles team.

Flanker (rugby union) playing position in rugby union

Flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Each team of 15 players includes two flankers, who play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside or openside flankers, numbers 6 and 7 respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they 'flank' each set of forwards. They compete for the ball – most commonly in rucks and mauls. Flankers also assist in pushing in a scrum, but are expected to detach from the scrum as soon as the ball is out to get to the play before the opposition's forwards. Flankers also participate in line-outs, either being lifted to contest or win possession, or to lift other players. Flankers are usually the key participants in the tackling process. The flankers, especially the openside, are often the fastest forwards on the team but still relied upon for tackling.


Early life and style

Tony Shaw was born 23 March 1953 in Brisbane, Queensland. His early rugby was played at St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace in Brisbane. He was a proficient water-polo player and represented for Queensland in that sport.

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of approximately 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland metropolitan region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.6 million.

Queensland North-east state of Australia

Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).

St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace is a Greater Public Schools private, Catholic, day school for boys only, located in Spring Hill, an inner suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Founded on 5 July 1875 by three Irish Christian Brothers, the College follows the Edmund Rice tradition, and currently caters for about 1436 students from Years 5 to 12.

Shaw's greatest rugby success was achieved at flanker, he was a hard driving forward who lead from the front and was an outstanding rucker and mauler. Howell asserts that although the standard of Australian representative sides during the early 1970s was less than consistently world-class, Shaw would have been competitive in the best All Black packs of that and any other era. [1] Howell regards him as a cunning line-out technician who could outwit taller and more spring-heeled opponents. Queensland packs containing Shaw and Mark Loane dominated their New South Wales rivals in the late 1970s.

Mark Edward Loane AM is an Australian former rugby union football player, who played 89 games for Queensland and 28 Tests for the Wallabies. Described by Bret Harris in his book, The Marauding Maroons, as "the closest thing to a folk hero Queensland has seen", Loane was noted for devastating barging runs and on occasion the game would be won by one of these characteristic bursts.

Rugby career

Shaw was first selected for Queensland when Tonga visited in 1973. That year, aged 20 he was picked for the 1973 Australia rugby union tour of Europe and he played in the second-row in five games including his debut Test appearances against Wales and England. [1]

Tonga national rugby union team rugby union team

The Tonga national rugby union team is nicknamed ʻIkale Tahi . Like their Polynesian neighbours, the Tongans start their matches with a war dance – the Sipi Tau. They are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Samoa. The Ikale Tahi achieved a historic 19–14 victory over France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but having lost to New Zealand and Canada, were unable to achieve what would have been their first ever presence at the quarter-finals.

The 1973 Australia rugby union tour of Europe was a series of nine matches played by the Australia national rugby union team in England and Wales in October and November 1973. The Wallabies won only of three of their matches, lost five and drew the other one; they lost both of their international matches, against Wales and England. The final match with Italy, is not considered as a capped Test match by Australian Rugby Union

Wales national rugby union team Nation rugby team from Wales

The Wales national rugby union team represents Wales in international rugby union. Its governing body, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), was established in 1881, the same year that Wales played their first international against England. The team plays its home matches at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which replaced Cardiff Arms Park as the national stadium of Wales in 1999.

Early in his career Shaw played at number-eight and although he was picked in the Queensland team of 1974 against the visiting All Blacks, Mark Loane was preferred by the selectors at number 8 for the three Test matches against those visitors. Shaw set out at that point to become the first-choice flanker in the national side. In 1975 he was back in the Australian team at breakaway for two domestic Tests against England and one against Japan. He made the 1975–76 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland and played in nineteen of the total twenty-six matches. He was the only back-rower to play in all five Test matches of the tour. [1]

Japan national rugby union team rugby union team

The Japan national rugby union team, is traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years. Rugby union in Japan is administered by the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), which was founded in 1926. They compete annually in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Asia Rugby Championship. They have also participated in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987.

In 1976 he played against Fiji for Australia in three Tests. Wearing a Queensland jumper he also met Fiji and in that year's interstate series the Reds dominated New South Wales with a 42–4 victory. He made the 1976 Australia rugby union tour of Europe and played in eight of the ten games including the two Test losses to France. Coach Bob Templeton's tenure and the reputation of a number of senior players suffered as a result of the poor tour record but Shaw held his own and returned well regarded. [1]

Queensland Reds Australian rugby union team

The Queensland Reds is the rugby union team for the Australian state of Queensland that competes in the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby competition. Prior to 1996 they were a representative team selected from the rugby union club competitions in Queensland. With the introduction of the professional Super 12 competition they moved to a model where players are contracted to the Reds through the Queensland Rugby Union rather than selected on the basis of club form.

New South Wales Waratahs Super Rugby franchise based in Sydney

The New South Wales Waratahs ( or ; referred to as the Waratahs, are an Australian rugby union team representing the majority of New South Wales in the Super Rugby competition. The Riverina and other southern parts of the state, are represented by the Brumbies, who are based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

The 1976 Australia rugby union tour of Europe was a series of ten matches played by the Australia national rugby union team in France and Italy in October and November 1976. The Wallabies won four and lost six of their matches; they lost both of their international matches against France in Bordeaux and Paris but won the international against Italy.

The new national coach Daryl Haberecht, in 1978 built his side around the leadership strength of Shaw and his Queensland back star Paul McLean. Shaw wasn't even the captain at his club side Brisbane Brothers and Mark Loane was the state captain but Haberecht valued Shaw's "blood & thunder" leadership style and Shaw debuted as national captain in two Tests against Wales, both won. The Wallaby forwards in those Tests were a pack of "hard-heads" who gave no quarter to the Welsh. They were Shaw, Loane, Greg Cornelsen, Garrick Fay, David Hillhouse, Stan Pilecki and Steve Finnane. Finnane was attributed with breaking Welsh prop Graham Price's jaw, in the brutal second Test. [1]

Shaw was the squad and Test captain on the 1978 Australia rugby union tour of New Zealand on which coach Haberecht suffered a heart attack after the 2nd Test 6–22 loss. A mid-game rallying speech from Shaw inspired the Wallabies to a form turnaround that saw them win the 3rd Test in Auckland 30–16. In 1979 under new coach Dave Brockhoff, Loane led the Wallabies in a Test match in Sydney where they won the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 45 years; Shaw played in that game. Shaw led Queensland in matches against Ireland and the NZ Maori, and played in two Tests against Ireland under Loane. Loane also led the Wallabies on the 1979 Australia rugby union tour of Argentina but Shaw played in six of the seven matches and captained Australia in a mid-week game.

In 1980 under Shaw's leadership the Wallabies won two of a three Test home series against the All Blacks and retained the Bledisloe Cup. Australian had further success under Shaw's leadership on a tour of Fiji that same year and hosting France in 1981 – all Tests were won. Shaw was selected to captain the Wallabies on the 1981–82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland becoming the first Queenslander to captain the Wallabies on a tour of the Home Nations since his future father-in-law Bill McLean in 1947–48. Shaw would later marry McLean's daughter and made the 81–82 tour alongside Bill's son Peter and nephew Paul. Disaster struck for Shaw in the Test against Scotland when he retaliated recklessly to niggling from Scots player Bill Cuthbertson with a king-hit right in front of the referee and the TV cameras. This transgression would mark the end of Shaw's Test captaincy career. He was also dropped from the team following the Scottish Test. [2]

Shaw played again for his country against Scotland in 1982 and against Argentina in 1983 but his rugby career ended in 1983 at age 31 following an appearance for the Queensland B team against the All Blacks. In total, Shaw played thirty-six tests for the Wallabies between 1973 and 1982. He made a further forty-eight tour match appearances including some matches as a lock or number eight. He captained the Aussies for fifteen Tests and a further fourteen international tour matches. [3] He is Australian cap number 565. [4] Howell regards Shaw and one of the greatest captains Australia has ever had. [2]


Shaw was inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame in 2012 [5] and was named as an Australian Rugby Union Classic Statesman that same year. [6]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Howell p204-5
  2. 1 2 Howell p207
  3. Tony Shaw on
  4. Rugby union | Australian caps |
  5. "Former Wallaby Captains inducted into Wallaby Hall of Fame". Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  6. Classic Statesmen
Preceded by
Geoff Shaw
Australian national rugby union captain
Succeeded by
Mark Loane

Published sources