John Walter Cole
- 513Wallaby Number
John Cole was a constant selection for the Wallabies through one of the more difficult periods in Australian rugby. An inherently reliable wing three-quarter, Cole possessed pace, anticipation and sound defence, and made the right wing position his own for seven straight seasons.
Born in Sydney, Cole was educated at Maroubra High School from where he proceeded to the Randwick Club. Cole had an illustrious club career and won four First Grade grand finals (1967, 71, 73 & 74).
Cole played his first senior representative match for New South Wales against Queensland in 1967 and the following year was part of a strong Sydney team that ran the touring All Blacks close (9-14). He fortuitously missed selection for New South Wales when they were beaten 5-30 before he was called up to make his Test debut in Sydney. At the end of that season Cole was chosen for his first Wallaby tour, to Ireland and Scotland, where he played in all five matches.
In 1969 Cole toured South Africa under Des Connor and played 18 of the 26 matches including all four Tests. Two years later he faced the Springboks on their apartheid demonstration-dominated tour and in the 3rd Test scored the 312th and final three point try for Australia.
1974 marked the end of his representative career and it seemed somewhat fitting that Australia performed quite brilliantly despite losing the home Bledisloe Cup series 0-2. Cole went to Italy and played in Milan then on his return to Australia switched codes to play rugby league for Eastern Suburbs.
John Cole played 24 Tests for Australia in a seven-year international career.
Cole won his first Test cap on the right wing in the 11-27, 1st Test loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G. He played the next four Tests against New Zealand with Alan Cardy on the left wing, France with Barry Honan, and Ireland and Scotland with Terry Forman.
Cole and Forman were on the wings in all five Wallaby Tests against Wales (1) and South Africa (4).
Cole picked up a cap, and scored his first Test tries, in Australia’s only international of the year, the 23-3 victory over Scotland at the S.C.G.
Cole started all five Tests, the 1st Test against South Africa with John Taylor on the left wing, and the four Tests against South Africa (2) and France (2) with Jeff McLean.
He missed the two Test home series against France due to a fractured jaw but returned to partner McLean in each of the three Bledisloe Cup Tests. Cole was rested for the 21-19 win over Fiji in Suva.
Cole played on the right wing in both home Tests against Tonga but declared himself unavailable for the end-of-season short tour to Wales and England in order to sit the final exams to complete his Bachelor of Science degree.
In his final season of international rugby Cole was capped in each of the three Bledisloe Cup Tests at home against New Zealand.