Keith Radcliffe Bell
- 524Wallaby Number
Keith Bell was a solid, dependable and remarkably versatile player who debuted for Queensland at No.8 yet played his sole Test for Australia as a prop forward.
Born in Goondiwindi and educated at the Anglican Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane, Bell went on to the University of Queensland, became a schoolteacher and won three First Grade premierships in his seven years with the club (1967-73).
His first taste of senior representative rugby came in 1968 when chosen at No.8 for his home state against Sydney at North Sydney Oval. Bell continued his rapid ascent when selected for the 22-man Wallaby tour of Ireland and Scotland at the end of that same season. The Australian selectors made one change to the team that lost the opening international of the tour 3-10 to Ireland. That change saw Bell come into the side at the expense of Ross Turnbull and make his international debut against Scotland at Murrayfield. It was a tough night at the office in the front row under English referee Michael Titcomb. Australian coach Des Connor said the Wallabies had been thrown “completely out of gear” by Titcomb. “It was a first class game with a third class referee.” The Australians were penalised 6-1 in the scrums and at one stage was penalised on three consecutive occasions for scrum-related infringements.
The following year Wallaby manager Charlie Eastes appealed for reserves to be sent to South Africa for his injury-depleted side. Bell was considered a strong candidate for a call-up but declared himself unavailable.
Keith Bell played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #524.
Bell won his first Test cap at prop alongside Peter Johnson and Roy Prosser in the 3-9 defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.