Gary Keith Pearse

  • 71Age
  • 9Caps
  • 588Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthFebruary 8, 1953
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolMaroubra Bay High School
Debut ClubRandwick
Other ClubLazio (ITA), Durban High School Old Boys (SAF), Port Hacking
Other ProvinceNatal (SAF)
Debut Test Match1975 Wallabies v Scotland, Cardiff
Final Test Match1978 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Auckland


One of the most well known facts in Australian rugby is that Greg Cornelsen scored four tries from No.8 when Australia defeated New Zealand by a then record 30-16 in the third Test of the 1978 Bledisloe Cup series at Eden Park. What is less well recalled is the name of the other Wallaby try scorer in that match. It was in fact Gary Pearse who scored the third try of the game following a darting run down the short side from inside centre Ken Wright.

Pearse, a very fast, tremendously fit, outstanding ball-running flanker with excellent handling skills was born into an era in which Australia was blessed with world-ranking backrowers, including Mark Loane, Greg Cornelsen and Tony Shaw however in his younger days at Maroubra Bay High School he played in the centres.

His first senior representative rugby was played for Sydney against Queensland in 1974 and a year later he debuted for New South Wales against Queensland. Pearse won selection for the Sixth Wallabies tour of Britain in 1975/76 and from there made his Test debut against Wales in Cardiff.

A genuine rugby troubadour who loved being on tour, Pearse was one of the first Australians to play rugby overseas at the club level. He joined Lazio in Italy for the 1978/79 season and Durban High School Old Boys in South Africa for two seasons (1979 & 1980). Pearse also represented Australia at five Hong Kong 7s tournaments.

On the 1978 tour to New Zealand Pearse was twice honoured with the captaincy of his country for the uncapped matches against Counties and Wanganui. Pearse excelled in the environment and in the culture of rugby union football and he made an outstanding contribution to the game after his playing days ended.

Gary Pearse played nine Tests for Australia in his four-year international career.



Pearse won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced John Lambie on the flank in the 3-28 loss to Wales in Cardiff. He earned his first run-on XV cap on the side of the scrum in the 20-10 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road. Pearse held his place in the starting side and scored his first Test try in the 24-12 defeat of the United States in Anaheim.


Pearse was capped as a flanker alongside Tony Shaw and Mark Loane in all three home Tests against Fiji. He was selected on the Wallaby tour to France and Italy however Greg Cornelsen joined Shaw and Loane in the back row for both Tests against Les Bleus.


The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1977.


He won his final three caps at flanker alongside Cornelsen and Shaw in each Test of the Bledisloe Cup series in New Zealand. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.


Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.


Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.


Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.


Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.

Gary Keith Pearse