- 634Wallaby Number
David Codey was a hard-as-nails, abrasive, unrelenting and unforgiving back-rower who starred on the Wallabies’ 1984 ‘Grand Slam’ tour of the U.K. and Ireland. Born in Sydney, Codey was educated at the Shore School. After he left school Codey bought a business in the central west town of Orange and played his rugby for Orange City. His good form came to the notice of NSW selectors and he burst onto the representative scene in 1983 against Argentina. Codey played in the both the NSW and NSW Country losses to the Pumas before he was selected to make his Test debut at Ballymore.
The following year he proved to be an inspired selection on the ‘Grand Slam’ tour however ahead of the team’s departure it was less about Codey’s selection and more about the omission of Peter Lucas which sparked a high degree of controversy and criticism. Codey’s early tour form so impressed, notably in the uncapped fixtures against both South and South West Division and then Swansea, that he was selected ahead of Chris Roche for the first Test against England.
Coach Alan Jones opted for the 193cm Codey because he offered a genuine fourth jumper option in the lineout. Australia won 19-3 and although Roche returned for the clash against Ireland, Codey played in each of the final two Tests against Wales and Scotland. In 1987 he won selection to the inaugural Rugby World Cup, had a whale of a game off the bench against France in the semi-final only to then become the first Australian sent from the field in a Test during the third place play-off loss to Wales.
In a remarkable twist of fate Codey was appointed captain of Australia for their next Test, against New Zealand in Sydney. David Codey played 13 Tests for Australia, one as captain, in a five-year international career.
Codey won his first Test cap as the starting No.8 in the 1st Test, 3-18 loss to Argentina at Ballymore but injured his shoulder to miss the second Test as well as the one-off Bledisloe Cup fixture.
Codey played in three of the four Tests - England, Wales and Scotland - at flanker alongside Simon Poidevin and Steve Tuynman on the ‘Grand Slam’ tour of Britain.
He earned two caps at flanker, one in the 2nd Test, 43-15 victory over Canada in Brisbane and a second in the 9-10, one-off Bledisloe Cup Test loss in Auckland.
Codey picked up caps in combination with Poidevin and Tuynman in the 27-14 defeat of France in Sydney and the 1st Test, 39-19 win against Argentina in Brisbane but was unavailable for the Wallaby tour to New Zealand due to work commitments.
Codey won five caps and selection to his first Rugby World Cup where he started on the flank against Japan, the U.S.A. and Wales. He then replaced Bill Campbell in the semi-final loss to France. Codey then became the 61st Wallaby to captain his country in the 16-30 loss to New Zealand in Sydney.