Brian William Ford
- 426Wallaby Number
Brian Ford was the youngest Wallaby to win a Test cap since World War II. Ford came from excellent rugby stock as his father, Monty Ford, was the brother of Eric (Wallaby #240) and Jack Ford (Wallaby #224), who both gained international honours in the 1920s. Ford was a three-quarter with sharp natural speed, good all-round skills and, most notably, hard-hitting defence.
Born in Sydney, Brian was educated at Saint Columban’s College at Albion, in Brisbane where he excelled as a 100 yard sprinter and ran at The Associated Schools athletics’ titles. After leaving school, Ford played C Grade for Southern Districts but was promoted to First Grade, aged 17, in 1956. The following year his speedy dashes down the left wing and strong tacking earned him a debut for Queensland against New South Wales. Three weeks later Ford ran out against the touring All Blacks. When Ken Donald broke three metacarpal bones in his right hand during the 1st Test in Sydney it was believed that Queensland would opt for the proven experience of Johnny Clark for Queensland’s mid-week match against the visitors. Clark was overlooked and Ford installed the to mark Southland flyer, Russell Watt.
With the second Test to be played on the same ground just four days later, the Australian selectors made five changes, but just one in the backs, and Ford came into the side for his Test debut as Donald’s replacement on the left wing. Ford was the only Queenslander in the side. Australia lost 9-22 and Ford was offered few opportunities although he did play against the All Blacks later in the tour when chosen for the Australian Barbarians.
Later that season there were trials for the Fourth Wallabies tour in Sydney. The Queenslanders travelled to Sydney in the expectation of the usual interstate series only to find that the NSWRU had unilaterally decided that composite sides ought to be chosen so that their players could receive the maximum exposure before the selectors. Ford made the final ‘Australia’ v The Rest trial but missed selection for the tour. “They told me I was too young,” he commented. Ford was not alone. Wallaby captain against the All Blacks, Dick Tooth, missed out as did Keith Cross, Chilla Wilson, Cyril Burke, and Ross Sheil.
Ford continued to represent Queensland for the next two season before a back injury and his employment conspired against him.
Brian Ford played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #426.
Ford won his first Test cap on the left wing in the 2nd Test, 9-22 loss to New Zealand at the Exhibition Ground.