Brett William Papworth
- 652Wallaby Number
Brett Papworth was a phenomenally talented centre who will always be remembered for his unique ability to carve apart opposition backlines. Simply put, Papworth was electrifying on his feet. He was an eternal threat with ball in hand, lightning fast over the first 15 to 20 yards and he had a withering side-step that left defenders grasping at thin air. Papworth also had the unique ability to create space for the players on his outside. Born in Newcastle, Papworth was educated at Epping Boys’ High School from where he won selection for Australian schools (1980-81) and then for three successive years with the Australian U21s (1982-84).
In 1983 he made his debut for New South Wales against Taranaki at T.G.Milner however at that time Andrew Slack and Michael Hawker were firmly entrenched as the Test team mid-field. Two years later Papworth was selected at fly half for NSW against the touring Fijians and scored two brilliant tries. That performance led to a Test debut against the tourists in Brisbane. In 1986 he toured New Zealand, played all three Tests, and returned home as a member of just the second Australian side to ever win a Test series on New Zealand soil.
The following year Papworth was an integral part of the Wallaby squad for inaugural World Cup however in the key semi-final against France in Sydney he damaged the medial ligament in his right knee and as a consequence the Australian attack faltered. In 1988, and still in his rugby prime, Papworth switched codes to play rugby league for Eastern Suburbs. Brett Papworth played 16 Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Selected in the Australian Schools squad.
Represented Australian Schools against Ireland Schools, Scotland Schools and Welsh Youth.
Represented Australian U21s against Fiji U21 (47-4) in Brisbane and selected in the Australian U21s squad for the Test against New Zealand U21s (36-12) in Sydney.
Represented Australia U21s when they defeated New Zealand U21s 26-18 at Pukekohe.
Represented Australian U21s when they defeated New Zealand Colts 12-10 at the S.C.G.
Papworth won his first Test cap as the starting inside centre in the 1st Test, 52-28 victory over Fiji at Ballymore. He scored his first Test try in that match to become the 60th Wallaby to score a try on debut.
Papworth started at No.12 in six of the Wallabies’ seven Tests, four inside Andrew Slack and two alongside Matthew Burke.
In his final year of international rugby Papworth played eight Tests. He was selected to his first Rugby World Cup and picked up caps against England, the U.S.A., Japan, Ireland and France at inside centre. In the one-off Bledisloe Cup Test Papworth started at No.13 outside Michael Hawker. His final two caps were also earned at outside centre, with Michael Lynagh at No.12, in the away series against Argentina. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.