James Robert Cross
- 409Wallaby Number
Jim Cross was a skilful and mobile hooker who, in the loose, played more like a modern day flanker. Known for his quick strike in the scrum, Cross was one of the rare New South Welshmen to represent his country without ever playing for his state.
Born in Sydney, Cross was educated at North Sydney Boys' High School and from there played his club rugby with Northern Suburbs. He arrived as a loose forward at Norths’ trials but was advised to try out for hooker as the club had plenty of flankers. Cross won a place in the fourths in his new position but developed to the stage where he made First Grade in 1954. With Nev Cottrell and Jim Walsh both retired, and despite John Bain and Fred Testoni playing for New South Wales earlier in the season, Cross was selected on the 1955 Wallaby tour to New Zealand alongside incumbent Australian hooker Paul Mooney.
Following a number of solid performances in the early matches, and helped by the fact that he had the benefit of size on his side relative to Mooney, Cross was named to make his Test debut in Wellington. Although up against a quality opponent in Ron Hemi, Cross held his own in the scrums and performed admirably in general play during what was a closely contested Test series. Australia improved in each match and in a memorable 3rd Test, earned a rare victory at Eden Park. The following year, Randwick’s Jim Brown emerged as the No.1 hooker in New South Wales and went on to represent Australia in nine consecutive Tests through to the end of the Fourth Wallabies tour in 1957/58.
Jim Cross played three Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Cross won his first Test cap at hooker propped by fellow debutant Neil Adams and Nick Shehadie in the 1st Test, 8-16 loss to New Zealand at Athletic Park. Don Strachan came in for Adams to join Cross and Shehadie for the final two Tests of that series.