Garth Glennie Jones
- 392Wallaby Number
Garth Jones’ appearance - red-haired, lanky, lean and pale - belied the fact he was one of the great Wallaby finishers and will forever be renowned for scoring two of the great tries in Test rugby. Born at Childers in the Bundaberg region of Queensland, Jones played his first rugby in 1946 when he commenced his sub-junior year at Brisbane Boys’ College. After playing in the 6st 7lbs team that first year, Jones made the 1st XV the following season. Jones then left school at the end of his Junior year and began work as a clerk in a Brisbane insurance company. He did not play rugby again until 1949 when he was talked into joining them at GPS Old Boys club.
The next season Jones made the Brisbane representative ‘B’ team and quickly graduated to ‘A’ Grade, starting as a winger, but often playing in the centres. In 1951, Jones made his senior representative debut for Queensland against New South Wales however it was not until the following year, and after several scorching runs for Queensland in both the interstate clash in Sydney and then against Fiji at the Exhibition Ground, that he was rewarded with a Test debut against the tourists in ankle deep water at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In 1953, Jones was one of just one of four Queenslanders who won selection for the tour to South Africa. Having lost the opening Test 3-25 and down 13-14 at Newlands with time all but up on the clock it seemed certain the Springboks would maintain their 15-year winning streak. Reg Sweet described the dying moments in his book, Green and Gold: ‘A loose scrum formed ten yards from the Wallaby posts… Scrumhalf Cyril Burke flashed out a long pass to Brown. Then Solomon took a short one and cut upfield. He gave to Stapleton. Stapleton coursed up to the left side of the field with the fleet Garth Jones alongside him. Through the corner of his eye, he saw Buchler coming across to cut him off.
Hennie Muller was in hot pursuit from behind. Stapleton correctly chose the split-second to give the ball to Jones, who was off like great wings rising, wheeling and darting like a seaward gull. Jones gained with every stride and had time on reaching the line to veer round and fall on the ball between the posts, where he lay for a few seconds with hands outstretched, but doubtless blessing the ground! For it was the winning stroke.’ Solomon converted the try and the Boks were beaten. Jones added to his glowing reputation in 1955 during the opening Test in Wellington. Mac Hughes won a lineout. Brian Cox, cleared the ball quickly and it went along the line to Jones, who, seeing the way ahead blocked, veered infield to completely’ wrong foot’ the All Black defence. After a great run of more than 50 metres, he scored under the posts. Unfortunately Australia lost the match 8-16. Sadly, Jones suffered a double fracture of the cheekbone playing for Queensland against the Springboks in 1956. His employer then transferred Jones out west and that proved to be the end of his representative career. Garth Jones played 12 Tests for Australia in five years of international rugby.
Jones won his first Test cap on the left wing in partnership with Eddie Stapleton in the 1st Test, 15-9 victory over Fiji in Sydney. He scored his first Test try in that match to become the 35th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Jones held his spot for the second Test in Brisbane but while selected for the subsequent tour to New Zealand lost out to young Nudgee prodigy John O’Neill for both internationals.
Jones and Stapleton were paired on the wings in all four away Tests against South Africa.
He played in both home Tests against Fiji, the first with Stapleton and the second with debutant Gavan Horsley.
The Jones / Stapleton combination started each of the three away Tests against New Zealand.
In his final season of international rugby Jones was capped on the left wing in the 1st Test, 0-9 loss to South African before he suffered what was in part a career-ending injury three days later when playing for Queensland against the tourists.