Benjamin John Darwin
- 768Wallaby Number
Born in England but raised in Sydney, Ben Darwin was a skilful tight head prop who fulfilled a childhood dream when he became a Wallaby. Darwin attended Barker College on Sydney’s north shore and played two years in the school’s 1st XV (1993-94). He earned selection to Combined Associated Schools, NSW Schools and was included in a shadow squad for Australian Schools. Darwin then joined the Northern Suburbs club and from there was picked to play Australian U21s. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship program, Darwin signed with the ACT Brumbies and made his Super Rugby debut in 2000 against the Sharks in Canberra.
He played 42 matches for the Brumbies, participated in four consecutive final series, and was a member of the 2001 championship-winning team. On the strength of his 2001 performances he was picked in the Wallaby squad and made his Test debut against the British & Irish Lions in Brisbane. He went on to play in two Bledisloe Cup winning teams and was picked in the squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In the tournament semi-final against New Zealand Darwin suffered a prolapsed disc in his neck during a collapsed scrum. Darwin paid tribute to his All Black opponent Kees Meeuws for saving him from possible further injury and soon thereafter announced his retirement from rugby. Ben Darwin played 28 Tests for Australia over his three-year international career.
Represented Australian U21s when they won the Southern Hemisphere tournament.
Darwin won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Glen Panoho at No.3 in the 1st Test, 13-29 loss to the British & Irish Lions at the Gabba. He played another eight Tests through the year including his run-on XV debut against Spain in Madrid.
Darwin earned eight caps, predominantly as a replacement behind starting tight head Patricio Noriega.
Darwin played a career high 11 Tests and was selected to his first Rugby World Cup. He started at tight head in four of the six matches before he was injured in a collapsed scrum during the semi-final victory over New Zealand.