David William Hillhouse
- 587Wallaby Number
David Hillhouse was one of Australia’s greatest line-out exponents. So prolific were Hillhouse’s lineout jumping skills that David Clark, his club coach at GPS in Brisbane, once invited a referee to training to prove that Hillhouse was not being lifted. Hillhouse had the rare skill of fingertip ball control at the apex of his jump. His extraordinary two-handed catching provided both Queensland and Australia with quality, controlled possession and a platform for attack. Hillhouse was also a good all-round forward, big and aggressive, and exceptionally mobile.
Born in Brisbane, Hillhouse attended the Anglican Church Grammar School. His rugby career started as a back before fate intervened in the U15s when he was running around as a winger. Coach Pat Ryan held an end-of-season practice involving the forwards against the backs in lineouts. Hillhouse jumped against the incumbent 15B lineout, and won every ball. Hillhouse moved into the forwards the following year and played No.8. In his final year he had moved to the middle row for the school’s 1st XV.
Hillhouse joined the GPS club and in 1975 played for Queensland U21s, U23s and the senior team all in the same season. His form was strong enough to win a spot in the Sixth Wallabies tour to Britain and when Mark Loane was ruled out with a broken hand and a torn hamstring for the opening Test against Scotland, Hillhouse made his international debut at Murrayfield.
In 1978 Hillhouse withdrew from the highly anticipated tour of New Zealand after he was offered a job with Kendall Airlines in Wagga Wagga. It was a difficult decision at the time however he thought it best to have a career to fall back on after rugby. As a consequence Hillhouse entered into what turned out to be a five-year hiatus from representative rugby. Over that period he missed a total of 23 Tests.
A breakthrough finally emerged in late 1982 when Hillhouse’s boss at Ansett asked him if he still wanted to play representative rugby and then offered to organise a more accommodating roster on his behalf.
Hillhouse resumed his representative career in 1983 with both Queensland and Australia and played all seven Tests before he announced his retirement at the end of that season.
David Hillhouse played 16 Tests for Australia.
Hillhouse won his first Test cap at No.8 in the 3-10 loss to Scotland at Edinburgh. He picked up a second cap at lock alongside Reg Smith in the 6-23 loss to England at Twickenham.
Hillhouse started at lock in five Tests, all three of the spiteful home series against Fiji in partnership with Smith and both Tests away to France, also alongside Smith.
The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1977.
Hillhouse and Garrick Fay were the locks for both home wins against Wales however Hillhouse withdrew from the tour to New Zealand.
In his final season of international rugby Hillhouse partnered Steve Williams in the middle row for all seven Wallaby Tests.