Hugh Jonathon McMeniman
- 795Wallaby Number
Hugh McMeniman did not earn the nickname ‘Madness’ from his teammates because he was a shrinking violet on the rugby field.
Born and raised in Brisbane, McMeniman and future Wallaby captain Rocky Elsom were a formidable combination for the Nudgee College 1st XV. A 200 cm, 114 kg powerhouse who could play lock or blindside flanker with equal aplomb, McMeniman won selection for Australian Schools in 2001 but did not represent at aged levels.
In 2005, and signed to the Queensland Reds, McMeniman made his Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes at Ballymore before his natural, abrasive aggression was soon stymied by a succession of shoulder and knee injuries. As a consequence he was restricted to just 29 appearances over five seasons with the Reds. Nonetheless his debut season Super Rugby performances earned him a maiden Test appearance against Samoa in Sydney.
McMeniman tallied 21 Test caps over four seasons before he left Australia in 2009 to join Japan’s Kubota Spears. In 2013 he returned home and his Test career was revived when new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie picked him for the first Test against New Zealand. In what was 22nd and final Test, McMeniman unfortunately suffered yet another shoulder injury, one that required season-ending surgery.
Represented Australian Schools against Samoan Schools, Japan U19s, Wales Schools, Scotland U19s and Ireland Schools.
McMeniman won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Mark Chisholm at lock in the 74-7 triumph over Samoa in Sydney. After his second cap against Italy in Melbourne McMeniman made himself unavailable for the rest of the domestic Test season in order to improve his physical fitness for the end-of-season Spring Tour. He was capped in each of the tour’s four internationals and made his run-on debut at lock in the 16-26 loss to England at Twickenham.
A shoulder reconstruction saw McMeniman miss the entire domestic Test season. He won selection in the Wallaby squad for the end-of-season Spring Tour but did not play in any of the four internationals following a neck injury in the uncapped midweek match against Ospreys that forced him to return home.
A knee injury restricted McMeniman’s participation in the opening Tests of 2007 however he fought his way back into the Tri Nations squad and was then picked for his first Rugby World Cup. Four of his six caps earned that year were won during the tournament although he only managed one start, against Canada in Bordeaux.
McMeniman earned a career high nine Test caps including all four on the end-of-season Spring Tour.
More than four years after he won his last international cap McMeniman was picked at No.6 for the 1st Test, 27-49 loss to New Zealand in Sydney.