Albert Edward Roy Hoskins
- 204Wallaby Number
Roy Hoskins was a very vigorous, hard-working and solid back row forward who played one season of Test rugby before he graduated in Medicine only for his profession to take his life at just 32 years of age. Born and raised in Sydney, Hoskins was educated at Trinity Grammar where he starred both academically and athletically. He played three seasons in the 1st XV (1917-19), captained both the 1st XV and the 1st XI, captained the school and was Dux in his final year. Hoskins then won an exhibition before he entered the University of Sydney Medical School in 1920. A year later Hoskins made his first grade debut before he went on to represent University against Combined New Zealand Universities. Hoskins earned favourable press reviews for his performances during that series: ‘Good in the warm crushes, fast in the open, and a dependable scrummager, he was always to the fore’ and in the third match of the series was said to be ‘the pick of the forwards‘.
In 1922 Hoskins was invited to ‘indulge in some intense training and to take part in a trial match’, for the Next XV against New South Wales, ahead of the inbound tour by the Maori. Tragically that was the same match in which Robert Shute, the ex-Sydney Grammar School student and University prop, suffered a cerebral haemorrhage from which he later died. The Shute Shield, awarded to the first grade premiers in the Sydney competition, is named in his honour. Two years later Hoskins appeared for V.H. Treatt’s XV in the trial matches, played prior to the arrival of the All Blacks, where his ‘excellent form’ won him a spot in the first ‘Test’ team. ‘Hoskins played grittily throughout’ his debut and retained his spot for the remaining two matches of the series. Although Hoskins did not know it at the first of the three matches he played was actually his official Test debut after an ARU decision in 1994 elevated the remaining 34 New South Wales matches played against international opposition in the 1920-28 period to Test status (the five 1927/28 Waratahs’ internationals were given Test status in 1986). Early in 1925 Hoskins graduated from University as a Bachelor of Medicine and a Master of Surgery.
That same year Hoskins, ‘who played so brilliantly last year against the All Blacks’, switched allegiances to Western Suburbs. Unfortunately he was not selected in the representative ‘practice list’ because he missed several club games due to hospital-related duties. Not surprisingly Hoskins’ football career suffered during two years as the resident medical officer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and three years as a senior resident surgeon at the Coast Hospital. He moved to England in 1931 and became the senior resident medical officer at Victoria Hospital, Southend. The following year Hoskins was appointed superintendent of the Prittlewell General Hospital. Just six months into his tenure Hoskins died after he contracted a virulent germ while discharging his duties in the operating theatre. Roy Hoskins played three Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Hoskins won his first Test cap at No.8, alongside Ted Thorn and Ted Greatorex, in the 1st Test, 20-16 win over New Zealand at the Sydney Showground. That trio were retained for the final two matches of that series. In their review of the second Test, the local press suggested there were ‘loafers’ in the local vanguard however ‘Thorn, Thompson, Hoskins and Fox could not be accused, as their solid play was splendidly maintained.’ Following a thumping 8-38 defeat in the final international various match reports indicated that Hoskins was ‘a glutton for the hard stuff’.