Geoffrey Colin Richardson
- 536Wallaby Number
Geoff Richardson was a nomadic, highly talented fly half who represented Australia in the early 1970s. Richardson possessed a vast array of skills but none was better than his support play. He seemed always to be in position to clean up dropped ball, to give the critical pass to put someone through the gap, or to make a telling tackle. Richardson also had very good hands, could kick accurately and defended soundly.
Born in Taree on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Richardson played rugby league for Taree West Primary School, the Blue Hornets (U12-U13), Old Bar Juniors (U14) and Taree High School. His enrolment at Newcastle Teachers’ College led to his introduction to rugby union where he played two seasons (1966-67) and represented Newcastle in the second year.
Richardson then played for Goulburn Rugby Union Club for two seasons (1968-69) from where he debuted for the ACT (1968) and both New South Wales Country and New South Wales in 1969.
He began his compulsory national service in 1970 and the following year found himself at the Lavarach Barracks in Townsville where he played for Army, Townsville before winning a Queensland debut against the British Lions at Ballymore.
A polished performance in the only non-international the Lions lost in Australia and New Zealand combined with a smart showing for Queensland Country against the Springboks to earn Richardson a Test debut against South Africa in Sydney. The press described him as ‘remarkably solid’ and said he showed ‘sound judgement’.
At the end of 1971 he was selected for his first Wallaby tour, to France and North America, and was honoured with the captaincy in the uncapped match against Cote Basque at Bayonne.
Richardson also toured New Zealand and Fiji in 1972, and Wales, England and Italy in 1973.
The following year Richardson switched codes to play rugby league with the Western Suburbs Panthers in Brisbane and became a dual international when he played two Tests against Great Britain.
Geoff Richardson played nine Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Richardson won his first Test cap at fly half outside John Hipwell in the 1st Test, 11-19 loss to South Africa at the S.C.G. He held his spot for the final two Tests of that series but played the third international with Mick Barry after Hipwell was forced to undergo surgery for a calcification on his thigh.
Russell Fairfax started at fly half in the 1st Test against New Zealand but was forced to withdraw from the final two Tests due to a groin injury. Richardson joined Gary Grey in the halves for both Bledisloe Tests. He partnered John Cornes on debut in the 21-19 victory over Fiji in Suva.
Richardson played fly half in both Tests against Tonga and in the 0-24 loss to Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. He scored his first Test try in the 1st Test, 30-12 victory over Tonga in Sydney.