Arthur Neil McGill
- 514Wallaby Number
Arthur McGill was a beautifully balanced fullback who could kick with either foot and defend strongly. He also produced brilliant attacking football at a time when Australian rugby was trying to rebound from a string of key retirements and defections to rugby league. Fortunately McGill slotted seamlessly into the custodial position, a position he would dominate for six seasons, following the great Jim Lenehan’s retirement in 1967.
Born in Sydney, McGill was educated at Drummoyne High School and naturally gravitated to the Drummoyne club where he played First Grade in 1964. The following year McGill was selected for the Wallaby trials for the upcoming tour by South Africa however he was injured and subsequently missed selection.
McGill played his first senior representative game for Sydney against New South Wales Country in 1966 however Peter Ryan and Jim Lenehan were preferred at state level. However, two years later McGill debuted for New South Wales against Queensland at Ballymore where he scored eight points in the 20-15 win. That performance saw him selected for the Junior Wallabies tour match against New Zealand and despite what was a decisive loss (3-43), McGill was chosen to make his Test debut in Sydney. A week later McGill very nearly kicked Australia to one of the great upsets before a late and controversial penalty try saw New Zealand prevail 19-18. McGill scored 15 points (5PG) to set a new Australian individual point scoring record in a single Test to surpass the 46-year old record of ‘Bot’ Stanley.
At the end of the season McGill was chosen for his first Wallaby tour, to Ireland and Scotland, however injury robbed him of the opportunity. In a warm up match against Western Australia en route to the U.K. McGill badly tore the ligaments in his left knee. He missed both internationals, and with McGill the only fullback selected, Australia were forced to call upon the versatile Barry Honan to fill the custodial role.
Upon his return to the side, McGill started the next 16 consecutive Tests through to the end of the 1972 tour of New Zealand. It was a difficult time for the Wallabies as they won just two Tests, and drew one, in that four-year period however along with John Cole, captain Greg Davis and Roy Prosser, McGill proved to be a consistent and more than valuable selection.
Arthur McGill played 21 Tests for Australia in a six-year international career. He finished with a then Australian individual career record of 72 points (1T, 9C, 16PG, 1DG) .
McGill won his first Test cap at fullback in the 1st Test, 11-27 loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G. A week later he scored 15 points (5PG) to set a new Australian individual point scoring record for a single Test in the 18-19 loss at Ballymore. McGill picked up a third cap in the 11-10 home win over France.
McGill started at fullback in all five Wallaby Tests against Wales (1) and South Africa (4). He scored his first Test try in the 16-19 loss to the Welsh in Sydney.
McGill picked up a cap in Australia’s only international of the year, the 23-3 victory over Scotland at the S.C.G.
He played in each of the five Test matches against South Africa (3) and France (2).
McGill was capped in the first five Tests with France (2) and New Zealand (3) but was rested for the 21-19 win over Fiji in Suva.
In his final season of international rugby McGill played in both home Tests against Tonga.