Glenn Alexander Nichols
Born in Adelaide to a state Australian rules football representative father, Glenn Nichols was a world away from playing rugby union, let alone becoming a Wallaby. However, a chance move to Sydney’s lower north shore in an era where little Aussie rules was played saw Nichols introduced to the 15-man game, take to it like a duck to water, and transform into a prolific try-scorer winger.
Nichols played his first rugby aged seven with the Chatswood Rugby Club. He undertook his secondary schooling at Chatswood High School and played four seasons, mostly as a fullback, in the 1st XV (1967-70). In that final year Nichols also played fourth grade at Gordon and his overall form was rewarded with selection for the Combined High Schools tour of New Zealand.
Aged just 18 Nichols made his first-grade debut on the wing against Norths in 1971 and celebrated the occasion with a try. While Nichols continued to develop his game at club level the likes of John Cole, John Taylor, Rod Batterham, Laurie Monaghan and Owen Stephens were preferred at representative level. In 1973 Nichols came off the bench to debut for Sydney against Tonga (L 14-19) however he had to wait a further three years for a shot at higher honours.
Early in the 1976 season Nichols put his name into the frame with several strong performances. In the first Wallaby trophy match Nichols and teammate John Ryan scored four of Sydney’s six tries in the 24-3 victory over the ACT. Nichols was then “one of the few Sydney players to distinguish themselves” in the 16-39 mauling by Queensland. Finally, Nichols, in what turned out to be his only match for New South Wales, “pressed his claims for representative honours” with two tries on the right wing as the Waratahs thumped Fiji 37-6 at the Sydney Sports Ground. The next day he was named in the 21-man Australian squad for the first Test against the Fijians. Unfortunately, Ryan and Paddy Batch, played every minute of the three-match series and Nichols never quite made it onto the field for his Test debut. The year ended on a high note when Nichols scored a try as Gordon thrashed Eastwood 33-4 to win the Shute Shield first grade premiership, their first since 1958.
In 1977 Nichols toured the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Japan with Sydney, however with a new baby and another on the way, he retired at the end of the season. That retirement was delayed by 12 months when Nichols returned for one final fling in 1978. Over the course of his eight-year senior career Nichols played 107 first-grade matches for Gordon, nine matches, excluding the 1977 tour, for Sydney (13 tries) and one match for New South Wales (two tries).
Nichols was an unused reserve for all three Tests of the home series against Fiji