The Australian Rugby community is mourning the passing of six Test Wallaby, Colin Forbes.
A fiery and exceptionally speedy prop, who also played lock, was once described as “one of the world’s best tight forwards”. His Wallaby captain, Nev Cottrell, assessed him as” exceptionally tough”.
Born in Brisbane, Forbes was educated at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace however while at that great rugby nursery, Forbes only played six matches and not one of those was in the 1st XV. While perhaps not obvious at school, Forbes’ talents were recognised by the Brothers’ club where he played First Grade while still in his teens.
His first taste of representative rugby came in 1952 when selected to make his debut at tight head prop for Queensland against New South Wales. Three solid interstate performances saw Forbes chosen for his first Wallaby tour, to New Zealand, where he played in three matches but neither of the Tests.
The following year, Queensland ran New South Wales close in their two matches and Forbes was one of just four Queenslanders selected for the Wallaby tour to South Africa. Australia was humbled 3-25 in the 1st Test and the selectors made five changes for Cape Town, two of which were in the forwards. Forbes was called up to make his Test debut becoming Wallaby number 403.
In a memorable match, a Garth Jones try in the final minutes gave the Wallabies a deserved 18-14 victory and handed the Springboks their first defeat since 1938.
In 1955, Forbes married and withdrew from representative rugby however he was persuaded to return a year later to face the South Africa at home.
His younger brother Len was also a Wallaby after he toured to New Zealand in 1958, although he did not play a Test.
Col Forbes played six Tests for Australia in a four-year international career.
Forbes is survived by wife Patricia as well as sons Brian, John Paul and Mark.