Joseph Ward Roff
- 719Wallaby Number
Joe Roff was a winger/fullback of deceptively quick pace, a sharp outside swerve and a strong fend who delivered on his early promise to become a star during the golden era of Australian rugby. On his day Roff was the most potent wing in world rugby which said something when one considered he played in the era of the great Jonah Lomu.
Born in Victoria, Roff had a strong connection with rugby despite the fact that he played soccer until 14 years of age - his godfather was future Wallaby Hall of Famer Greg Cornelsen, the bearded flanker who scored a world record four tries against New Zealand. The family moved to Canberra and Roff attended Marist College where his first taste of rugby was in the U15s. A year later he was selected in the ACT U16s. Roff graduated to play two years for Australian Schools, U19s, U21s and for the Emerging Wallabies on their 1994 tour of Southern Africa where he scored 109 points in five matches.
In 1995, aged 19, Roff was selected to his first Rugby World Cup and made a Test debut against Canada in Port Elizabeth. Roff went on to become one of the key members of John Eales’ dominant team. While often remembered for his try scoring feats and his lethal partnership with Ben Tune, Roff became the ironman of Australia rugby as he played a record 62 consecutive Tests from late-1996 to 2001. There were many highlights in his stellar career but none more so than a piece of magic that almost single handedly turned the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour on its head. Just after halftime, and with Australia down 6-11, Roff leapt high to intercept a floated Jonny Wilkinson pass and then outpaced the cover to score in the corner. Roff touched down again five minutes later and the Wallabies went on to record a crushing 35-14 win. A week later Australia won the series 2-1.
Roff played 86 Tests for Australia and scored 244 points in his 10-year international career.
Selected in the Australian Schools squad for the Test against New Zealand Schools.
Represented Australian Schools.
Represented Australian U19s and Australian U21s
Roff won his first Test cap as the starting left winger in the 27-11 Rugby World Cup pool game victory over Canada in Port Elizabeth. He scored his first Test try to become the 74th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Roff also started in the two Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand.
Roff played in nine of the Wallabies’ 11 Tests. He started at outside centre in five of the first six matches, won a replacement cap at fullback against South Africa in Bloemfontein and then was picked on the left wing for the final three internationals against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
He started on the left wing in all 12 Tests of the year.
Roff was capped in all 13 Wallaby internationals. He played left wing in the domestic Tests and the Tri Nations, shifted to fullback for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers and then reverted back to No.11 for the two Test Northern hemisphere Tour.
Roff started in 10 of the 13 Test he played in 1999. He was selected to his second Rugby World Cup where he partnered with Ben Tune, Dan Herbert and Tim Horan in an unchanged three quarter line for each of the three finals’ matches. Roff played his 50th Test in the semi-final 27-21 overtime victory against South Africa at Twickenham.
Roff played all 10 Tests as the starting left winger. In the 2nd Test, 24-23 victory over New Zealand in Wellington, Roff played his 47th consecutive Test to eclipse the record set by Phil Kearns.
He was in the run-on XV at No.11 in all 11 Wallaby Tests of 2001. Roff finished the year as Australia’s top try scorer (5).
Roff earned 10 Test caps, seven on the left wing and the last three as a replacement during the finals of what was his third Rugby World Cup.
Roff earned his final four caps at fullback in the domestic Tests against Scotland (2), England and the Pacific Islanders.