Anthony Alexander Shaw
- 565Wallaby Number
Tony Shaw was one of the great Australian captains. Shaw’s teams committed and responded to his exhortations because he was always the first to put his body on the line. A strong-driving backrower in the best All Black tradition, Shaw was an outstanding rucker and mauler. He was a fanatic for physical fitness with unfailing determination and fortitude. As hard as the day is long, he was a tremendous competitor who never took a backward step. Shaw had the rare blend of toughness and technical brilliance which separated a good player from a great player. He was uncompromising, of the ‘take no prisoners’ school. Shaw was also extremely resilient, played above his weight, and particularly his height when moved to the middle row, and was arguably the most complete Australian forward in his era.
Shaw’s earliest rugby experience was at Gregory Terrace, with the mighty U13Cs, before he played two seasons in the College’s 1st XV (1969-70) and captained the state U16s to New Zealand.
In 1973 he debuted for Queensland against New South Wales and by the end of that season was selected on the Wallaby tour to England, Wales and Italy. Shaw made his debut in the opening Test against Wales however the following year it became obvious that Mark Loane was the premier No.8 in the country so Shaw switched his focus to the flank / second row. He won selection for the Sixth Wallabies tour to Britain in 1975/76 and was the only backrower to play in all five Tests.
In 1978 innovative coach Daryl Haberecht took over as coach and selected Shaw as his captain. Shaw led the team to New Zealand where he made a stand ahead of the final Test. With Australia staring down the barrel of a series whitewash, and after Haberecht suffered a near fatal heart attack, Shaw rallied the troops to a record victory at Eden Park. Shaw then played an integral part in two of Australia’s great victories of his era. In 1979 Australia defeated New Zealand 12-6 to win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 1949. The following year, and surely one of the highlights in his career, Shaw captained the first Wallaby side to ever retain the Bledisloe Cup.
In 1981/82, Shaw captained the Seventh Wallabies to the U.K., the first Queenslander to do so since Bill McLean in 1947-48.
Tony Shaw played 36 Tests for Australia, 15 as captain, in a remarkable 10-year international career. He was inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame in 2012 and in 2019 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for “significant service to rugby union.”
Shaw won his first Test cap at No.8 alongside Peter Sullivan and Dick Cocks in the 0-24 loss to Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. Bruce Battishall joined Shaw and Cocks for the 3-20 loss to England at Twickenham.
Shaw did not play a single Test as Mark Loane, Ray Price, John Lambie and Greg Cornelsen dominated the back row in the series against New Zealand.
Shaw started both Tests against England with Loane and Price, and the 2nd Test, 50-25 victory over Japan at Ballymore alongside Price and Cornelsen. He scored his first Test try in the Brisbane win against Japan. ,
He won selection for the Sixth Wallabies tour to Britain and was the only backrower to play in all five Tests. Shaw earned four caps on the side in the Tests against the Home Nations but was shifted to No.8 for the 24-12 win over the U.S.A. in Anaheim.
Shaw played flanker in partnership with Gary Pearse and Loane in all three home Tests against Fiji. He toured France and Italy at the end of the year where Loane and Cornelsen joined him in the back row for both losses to Les Bleus.
The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1977. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
New national coach Daryl Haberecht named Shaw as the 54th Wallaby to captain his country. He led the Wallabies from the side of the scrum in all five Tests against Wales (2) and New Zealand (3).
Shaw led Australia in both home losses to Ireland. With Dave Brockhoff the new Wallaby coach, Shaw ceded the captaincy to Loane for the 12-6, one-off Bledisloe Cup win in Sydney. He toured to Argentina and played lock alongside Peter McLean in each of the two Tests.
With Loane in South Africa, Shaw won selection on the first Wallaby tour to Fiji where he partnered debutants Duncan Hall and Simon Poidevin in the 22-9, one-off Test win in Suva. He then captained Australia in each of the three Tests against New Zealand but was shifted from flanker to lock for the final Test at the S.C.G.
Shaw, Poidevin and Loane formed the back row in the two home Test wins against France.
Shaw captained the Seventh Wallabies to the U.K. where he played at lock in partnership with Peter McLean against Ireland, Wales and Scotland. An incident with Scottish captain Bill Cuthbertson saw him overlooked for the England Test. Steve Williams came into the second row and Loane took over as captain.
Shaw partnered Chris Roche and Loane in the two home Tests against Scotland but was one of nine Queenslanders to withdraw from the tour to New Zealand due to financial reasons.