- 26Wallaby Number
The 1899 series against Britain was an historic one, as the first Test was to be played, and there would be four Tests in all. 'Archie' Boyd was one of those who could claim to have played in this first series. The game was still evolving at this time, Australia playing a 2-3-2 scrum , influenced by New Zealand,whereas England chose a 3-2-3 scrum. The following season Australia switched to a 3-2-3, though NZ stuck with the 2-3-2. Also, in this season, Australia played with a first five-eighth and a second five-eighth, like NZ. The extra forward in the pack was called a wing forward, as he could also assist as a halfback.
Archie was a halfback, who played for the Pirates and North Sydney. Boyd's first big-time rugby was playing against Britain in their second game on tour against NSW. The game was a tight one, NSW going down by 3 to 4. He was also picked in the following match , for Metropolis. This was another close one , Britain winning by 8 to 5. The Sydney Morning Herald reported:- “It was a splendid game, and was in doubt right up to the finish. Despite his solid performances, he was not picked for the first Test , his position going to Queensland's Austin Gralton. Gralton lost out to Queensland's Ernie Currie in the second Test in Brisbane. Boyd was not 'invited', the majority in the game being Queenslanders. Boyd did not hold his position in the NSW team in the return match, Randwick's Bill Galloway getting the nod, but he was selected for the Metropolitan team , which surprisingly beat the tourists by 8 to 5. Howell,et al, stated in They Came to Conquer “The game promised at the start to be a good one, but so slippery did the ground become and so greasy was the ball that an attractive display was out of the question.
It was difficult to pick up the ball or take a pass, while a sudden change of movement caused a player to fall. The second half deteriorated into a scramble. As a result of his fine work despite the appalling conditions, Arch Boyd was selected for what was to be his one and only Test, on 5 August 1899 at the SCG. Boyd was fortunate in being selected, as Queensland's Austin Gralton had been invited to play, but declined the invitation. Boyd made the most of his opportunity, though once more he was confronted with poor pitch conditions. Austin Gralton deigned to appear for the final Test, so Archie Boyd had to settle for just one Test in his playing career. Boyd was a compositer by trade. He was due to die at a mere 32 years of age.