The Australian Rugby community is mourning the passing of Alan Skinner, Wallaby #527, last Saturday aged 81.
Skinner was a tall and rangy No.8 / lock forward who enjoyed a brief career in Wallaby gold during the late 1960s.
Born in Sydney and schooled at Sydney Boys High School, where he was a member of the 1st VIII, Skinner played his first club rugby with Drummoyne before a switch to Eastwood.
Skinner's first appearance at representative level came in 1967 when selected to play No.8 for Sydney against Ireland, a match the home side won by a stunning 30 points to 8. The following year he was chosen for his first Wallaby tour, to Scotland and Ireland, although he did not play in either of the Tests.
In 1969 incumbent Wallaby No.8 David Taylor suffered a serious neck injury when he played for Queensland against Victoria. When the national team was chosen several weeks later for the one-off Test against Wales in Sydney, Skinner came in to make his Test debut. Later that season he toured South Africa, played 13 of the Wallabies’ 26 matches, and was capped in the final Test.
When he returned to Australia, Skinner shifted to Queensland, settled in Townsville, and debuted for his new state against New South Wales. A strong performance in the Maroons’ victory over Scotland, their first against a touring side since 1899, earned Skinner the odd distinction of being the sole Queenslander chosen in the Test team.
Skinner retired from representative rugby at the end of 1971 with three Test caps in a two-year international career.
Alan is survived by children Julie, Andrew, Jim, Lil and Sophie.