Eric Hamilton Davis
- 354Wallaby Number
Eric Davis was a barrel-chested man of considerable strength who won his way out of Victorian rugby to become a Wallaby. A man of strong work ethic, Davis proved himself in the battle zone of the front row. He was never intimidated, exemplified himself as a perfect team man in every respect and became a very popular member of the famous 1947-48 Third Wallabies. Although he was born in England, Davis found himself playing first grade rugby for Footscray in pre-war Victoria and from there won state selection in 1938.
A year later he made the state team that competed in the Interstate carnival and the Australian trial game in Sydney. He enlisted during the Second World War but returned in 1946, following the cessation of hostilities, to win a place in The Rest v. Australia trial ahead of the tour to New Zealand. While he did not win a tour spot that year Davis starred 12 months later when he was the only southerner in a ‘NSW XV’ that ran the touring All Blacks close (17-26) at the Sydney Showground. Once again a Test jumper proved elusive however his consistent form was rewarded later in the year when he was the lone Victorian chosen for the Third Wallabies tour.
Despite having to contend with Doug Keller, Bob McMaster, Eric Tweedale and Nick Shehadie for a position in the Test side Davis played solid rugby throughout the early matches and ‘because of his general toughness and durability’ deservedly won a debut against Scotland. Davis picked up a second cap, against Wales, and two more in 1949 when the Maori toured Australia. Davis announced his retirement in 1952 after Footscray fell to ultimate Dewar Shield champions Navy in the first grade grand final qualifier. Eric Davis played four Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Davis won his first Test cap in the front row alongside Ken Kearney and Eric Tweedale in the 16-7 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. ‘Wallaby Bob’ McMaster came in for the Scotland Test however when he went down with malaria Davis returned for a second cap, against Wales at Cardiff.
He won his final caps in the front row with Nev Cottrell and ‘Tarakan Jack’ in the opening two Tests against the New Zealand Maori.