Leonard John Diett
- 452Wallaby Number
Len Diett was a highly competitive, natural fly half who greatest attributes were his anticipation and ability to read the play. An on-field general and a player who led by example, Diett played Test rugby at just 19 before he, like many other backs of his era, switched to rugby league.
Born in Sydney, Diett was educated at Manly Boys’ High School where he captained the 1st XV which won the school’s first Combined High Schools premiership. He was also selected as captain for the CHS side which defeated Duntroon but, due to injury, he was unavailable to play against the GPS. Diett also played league during school years and he was selected as five-eighth and captain of the Manly U21 Presidents Cup side at just 17 years of age.
After completing his matriculation, Diett obtained one of the 20 Education Department scholarships to enter the Physical Education course at Sydney Teachers’ College. At this time he was reinstated to the Australian Rugby Union and, at 18, was selected at fly half in the Manly club’s First Grade side. In 1959, Diett was selected to debut for New South Wales against Queensland outside of Ken Catchpole however fate intervened and Arthur Summons was flown to Brisbane to replace Diett who had fallen victim to the flu. A week later Diett finally made his debut for NSW in the unfamiliar centre position against the British Lions. Diett’s performance in that match saw him earn a Test debut in Brisbane. The Lions comfortably won both Tests. Australia did not play a rugby international in 1960 and the following year Jimmy Lisle and John Dowse shared the fly half duties for New South Wales.
In 1962, Diett switched codes to play rugby league for North Sydney where he stayed for five years. Diett returned to rugby with the University of Oregon “Mighty Ducks” when he and his family moved to the United States. Upon graduation, Diett accepted a teaching position in Montreal, Canada, where he was recruited to play for the Montreal Irish Rugby Club.
Len Diett played two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Diett won his first Test cap at inside centre alongside Jack Potts in the 1st Test, 6-17 loss to the British Lions at the Exhibition Ground. Diett retained his spot for the 2nd Test in S.C.G. but was paired in the centres with Victoria’s ‘Danny’ Kay.