Beresford John Ellwood

  • 87Age
  • 20Caps
  • 447Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthJuly 24, 1937
Place of BirthWagga Wagga
SchoolCootamundra High School & The Scots College
Debut ClubWagga Wagga Agricultural College
ProvinceN/A NSW (1959-66)
Other ClubWaratahs (Wagga Wagga)
Debut Test Match1958, Wallabies v New Zealand, 1st Test Athletic Park
Final Test Match1966, Wallabies v British Lions, 1st Test Sydney


Beres Ellwood was a fine, sure tackling, mistake free centre who enjoyed a long and distinguished Test career for Australia.


New Zealand rugby critic Terry McLean once described Ellwood as “the best back in any rugby nation in 1959” while Wallaby captain Peter Johnson said that he was "underrated except by those who played with and against him."


Ellwood was, by most estimates, well in the running for any World XV of his era. In fact he achieved that twice, in the Rugby Football Union Jubilee match in 1962 and the series that marked South Africa' 75th Jubilee in 1964.


Born in Wagga Wagga, Ellwood played rugby league in his days at Cootamundra High School before he was sent to Sydney for his final year at The Scots College.


His first major match was for Riverina against the 1957 All Blacks however he did not win selection for the Fifth Wallabies tour to the U.K. In 1958, and without having yet played for New South Wales, Ellwood was chosen for his first Wallaby tour, to New Zealand. Ellwood was one of the best players, and with incumbent inside centre Saxon White unavailable for the tour, he was selected to make his Test debut in Wellington.


Ellwood was surprisingly overlooked for the series against the British Lions in 1959 but went on to play in 17 of the Wallabies’ next 22 Tests through to 1966.


Ellwood was a vital cog in some of Australia’s greatest ever victories during that run including the two away wins against South Africa in 1963, the first time the Springboks had lost back-to-back Tests all century; the 20-5 defeat of New Zealand in 1964, the largest loss at home in All Black history; and the 2-0 home series victory over South Africa in 1965 where his goal-kicking, previously rarely used, proved instrumental in Australia winning both matches.


Beres Ellwood played 20 Tests for Australia in a nine-year international career. 





Ellwood won his first Test cap at inside centre alongside Rod Phelps in the 1st Test, 3-25 loss to New Zealand at Athletic Park. He retained his spot for the two final Tests of that series but would partner a different outside centre - ‘Danny’ Kay and then Tom Baxter - in each.


The Wallabies did not play any Test rugby in 1960. 


Ellwood started in four Tests against Fiji (2), South Africa (1) and France (1). He missed the 2nd Test against the Springboks due to a badly strained groin. 


Ellwood played in all five Tests against New Zealand, four at inside centre and one - the 2nd Test, 5-14 loss in Sydney - at fly half. 


He played all four away Tests against South Africa at inside centre, the first with Peter Jones, the second alongside Ian Moutray, and the final two in combination with Rod Phelps. 


Ellwood missed the opening two Tests against New Zealand due to a pulled hamstring but returned inside of Dick Marks for the 20-5, 3rd Test win at Athletic Park.


Ellwood and Marks were paired in the centres for the two home wins against South Africa.1966 - In his final season of international rugby, Ellwood partnered Rick Trivett in the 1st Test, 8-11 loss to the British Lions at the S.C.G. 

Beresford John Ellwood