James Goode Clark
- 271Wallaby Number
Jimmy Clark was a fast, agile and outstanding lightweight flanker who captained Australia in a Test match but never knew of it. The great Springbok Danie Craven, arguably the greatest Springbok, credited Clark as the hardest tackler he ever encountered. It was written that Clark had ‘a genius for coming from nowhere to cut down attacking inside backs with amazing flying tackles. In respect of his tackling, he may be taken as an admirable model for breakaways with aspirations to State and national representation.’
Queensland born and bred, Clark was educated at Gregory Terrace where he played two seasons, both as captain, in the 1st XV and led the school to a GPS premiership in 1927. When the QRU reformed after a fifteen-year hiatus in 1929 Clark played his club rugby for the University of Queensland. A little twelve months later Clark made his state debut against New South Wales and by August he played his first match against international opposition when the Maroons hosted the British Lions at the Exhibition Ground.
From that initial interstate match Clark became a virtual guaranteed selection in the Queensland side as he started 17 of their 19 matches through to the end of the 1932 season. In 1931 Clark, alongside his brother Phil, was selected as vice captain for the Wallaby tour to New Zealand. Jim played in seven of the ten matches, including all three Tests however his debut, thought at the time to be against New Zealand in Auckland, was actually three days earlier in the Maori match at Palmerston North. Clark led Australia onto the pitch that day for what was believed to be an uncapped fixture within the tour. However, 55 years later the ARU elevated the match to international status and as a consequence Clark, without knowing, became the 26th Wallaby to captain his country in a Test.
He played against the All Blacks at home in 1932 before setting out with the first Wallaby team to tour South Africa in 1933. Clark started the first Test in Cape Town before Hodgson returned from injury to join Owen Bridle, Bob Loudon and Wal Mackney as the dominant back-rowers through to the end of the 1934 home series against the New Zealand. Clark formally retired from representative rugby in 1935 and went on to become a Queensland selector. Jim Clark played five Tests for Australia, one as captain, in a three-year international career.
Clark won his first cap at flanker, and as captain, in the 14-3 victory over the Maori at Showgrounds Oval. He retained his spot on the side of the scrum, alongside Tom Perrin and Jim Palfreyman, in the 13-20 loss to New Zealand at Eden Park.
He started at flanker in a back-row that included Max White and Owen Bridle, in the first two home Test defeats to New Zealand.
Clark won his final cap, at flanker, in the 1st Test, 3-17 loss to South Africa at Newlands.