Ainslie Glenister Ross Sheil
- 415Wallaby Number
Ross Sheil was a skilful fly half who deservedly won a single Test cap before he went on to become a world famous surgeon. Sheil possessed a strong tactical kicking game, a safe pair of hands and sound defence.
Born in Melbourne, Sheil attended The Southport School where he was an accomplished scholar and sportsman. Sheil was awarded Dux of the School, the Chelmsford Cup and the Founder’s Prize. He was also a member of the 1st XV, 1st XI Cricket, 1st IV Tennis, as well as being a member of the swimming and athletics teams.
After graduation, Sheil began his Medical Degree at The University of Queensland. As a member of St. John’s College he represented the College in cricket, rugby, athletics, swimming, tennis and rowing. In 1951 he was awarded a College Blue in recognition of his outstanding contribution. Sheil also played his rugby for the University at a time when the club won the First Grade premiership six times during the seven year period (1952-57).
In 1952 Sheil made his senior representative debut for Queensland against New South Wales at North Sydney Oval however the following year he withdrew from the Wallaby tour to South Africa due to the timing of his medical examinations. He went on to represent Australian Universities on tours to New Zealand in 1954 and Japan in 1956. South Africa came to Australia in 1956 for a two Test series. Dick Tooth was originally selected at fly half for the opening Test but withdrew due to a bruised thigh muscle. Arthur Summons was chosen as Tooth’s replacement however a medical check found he had a dislocated left shoulder. As a consequence, Sheil was called up to make his Test debut in Sydney where he acquitted himself well but unfortunately dislocated his shoulder towards the end of the match. He gallantly played on as no substitutions were allowed in those days. Nonetheless the injury ruled him out of the second Test just one week later.
Sheil was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford University in 1957, where he continued his studies in Medicine. Sheil continued to pursue his passion for both rugby and tennis and was awarded a Full Blue for both in 1958. In England he also represented Rosslyn Park, Middlesex and a number of invitation sides. In the U.S.A., where he began his research into organ transplantation, Sheil played for Harvard University. On his return to Brisbane he played for Wests before leaving for Sydney to pursue his surgical career.
In 1992 he was awarded the The Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the field of surgery, particularly in clinical and research organ transplantation.
Sheil won his first Test cap at fly half outside Cyril Burke in the 1st Test, 0-9 loss to South Africa at the S.C.G.