John Henry "Jum" Sampson
- 33Wallaby Number
‘Jum’ Sampson was a front-row forward who is understood to have come from the Waihi district, New Zealand. He initially played rugby at Waikato 1893-95 before playing a season in the Ohinemuri district. He then played in Parnell in 1897 and had four matches in Auckland in 1898. He joined the powerful Glebe Club in 1899, a year in which Britain came to Australia and played four Tests. Although he did not play for New South Wales, in the sixteenth match of the British tour he was chosen to play for the Metropolis against the visitors on 1 August 1899. The heavy conditions meant that there would be an emphasis on forward play, and ‘Jum’ revelled in the foul weather. Unexpectedly, the visitors went down 8 to 5. Despite his performance he was not picked for the third Test, he was for the fourth.
It was felt that the scrum needed tightening and two New Zealanders were selected for this purpose, Sampson and Bill Hardcastle. It was to no avail, as Australia lost by 0-13. The Sydney Morning Herald noted:” There was no point in the game in which they [the British] did not show to advantage in tackling, passing, handling the greasy ball, and in keeping their feet on a slippery ground, while their forwards were undeniable, and their sprinters exhibited greater dash and pace. The whole team was in excellent condition.” The Australian team for Sampson’s sole Test on 12 August 1899 at the SCG was Wally Cobb, Bob McCowan, Frank Row (capt.), Lonnie Spragg, Peter Ward, Iggy O’Donnell, Austin Gralton, Sine Boland, Bill Hardcastle, James Sampson, Jack O’Donnell, Charlie Ellis, Patrick Carew, Walter Davis and Bill Webb. This was the extent of Sampson’s international career.
He played one Test in Australia’s first-ever Test series. It should be noted that he was in the front row in Australia’s last 2-3-2 scrum, copying New Zealand. He was in the Glebe Club which won the first Sydney district competition in 1900. A publican, he was the host at the Prince Albert Hotel in William Street, Sydney.