Gareth Owen Grey
- 551Wallaby Number
Gareth Grey was a New South Wales dairy farmer who drew the shortest of straws when he competed with the great John Hipwell for much of his representative career. While diminutive in stature Grey was big in heart and proved to be a tough customer who could take heavy treatment as well as tackle with vigour.
Born in Kiama, Grey attended Hurlstone Agricultural College and went on to play his football for the newly-formed Kiama Club. He first gained recognition in 1967 with a debut for New South Wales Country against Golden Bay-Motueka on their tour to New Zealand however he then waited until 1971 before he was called into a Wallaby match day squad for the controversial home series against South Africa. At the end of that year Grey earned a spot on his first Wallaby tour, to France and Canada, although Hipwell played halfback in both Tests against Les Bleus.
In 1972 the French toured Australia and Grey found himself on the bench for the Tests. Shortly after halftime in the second Test at Ballymore, Hipwell suffered an ankle injury and Grey came on to make his Test debut. When Hipwell dislocated his collarbone in a club game and withdrew from the tour to New Zealand, he was replaced by John Cornes, and Grey found himself as the No.1 ranked halfback. As a consequence Grey started all three Tests of what was a disappointing series. The emergence of Rod Hauser as a genuine challenger to Hipwell over the next couple of seasons limited Grey’s opportunities. Nonetheless Grey was a late call up for the Sixth Wallabies to Britain after Hipwell underwent surgery on his injured knee and then made a final tour to France and Italy in 1976.
Gary Grey played five Tests for Australia in his one season of international rugby.
Grey won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced John Hipwell and partnered Russell Fairfax in the 15-16, 2nd Test loss to France at Ballymore. Grey played his first run-on XV match, again inside Fairfax, in the 1st Test, 6-29 loss to New Zealand in Wellington. He was paired with Geoff Richardson for the final two Test losses in Christchurch and Auckland. Grey earned his final cap off the bench when he replaced John Cornes in the 21-19 victory over Fiji in Suva.