Geoffrey Alexander Chapman
- 476Wallaby Number
Geoff Chapman was among the rarest of Test rugby players - a goal-kicking forward. An aggressive backrower, it was his accurate boot that first propelled Chapman into the Test side and then became a most valued source of points for the national team.
Born in the central west New South Wales town of Dubbo, Chapman was educated at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth however rugby league was the sport of choice in the winter. He then entered the University of Sydney to study Medicine. Chapman played his club rugby for University and benefited from the tutelage of coach Dick Tooth (Wallaby #383).
He noticed that the club lacked a recognised goal kicker so Chapman taught himself the basics and through diligent practice became highly proficient in the art. In 1962 Chapman, who had yet to play for New South Wales, was invited to play in the Wallaby trials for the upcoming tour to New Zealand. His performances for South Harbour saw him selected for ‘Australia’ versus The Rest in the final trial from where he was named in the touring squad. He started the tour in fine fashion, both in general play and with his kicking, to earn a Test debut in Wellington. That day Chapman came as ever so close to winning a Test with his own boot as he scored all nine Australian points in the 9-9 draw. Chapman had a much tougher day at the office in the second Test at a boggy, sawdust-covered Carisbrook.
Although he returned home as one of the tour’s successes further national honours proved elusive, no more so than in 1963 when Chapman was a surprise omission from the tour to South Africa. Chapman relocated to the country to practice medicine and, many years later, become a noted horse trainer.
Geoff Chapman played three Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Chapman won his first Test cap alongside Ted Heinrich and Rob Heming in the 1st Test, 9-9 draw with New Zealand at Athletic Park. Peter Crittle came in for Heinrich to join Chapman and Heming in the back row for the final two Tests of the series.