Mark Ian McBain
- 637Wallaby Number
Mark McBain was an ultra-competitive, tenacious and committed hooker with a quick strike who suffered a serious, potentially life-threatening head injury in just his second Test yet managed to forge a career that saw him selected for seven Wallaby tours. Considered to be almost a third flanker given his high work rate and speed around the park, McBain was a player who punched well above his weight.
Born and bred in Brisbane, McBain attended St Joseph’s, Gregory Terrace where he played in the 1st XV. He made his debut for Queensland in 1980 against Thames Valley in Paeroa but then found himself in fierce competition with Chris Carberry, Bill Ross and eventually Tommy Lawton just to hold onto the state’s No.2 jersey.
In 1983 Carberry, Ross and Lance Walker had retired, and Bruce Malouf was to be married. As a consequence McBain was selected along with Lawton for the Wallaby tour of Italy and France and made his Test debut against Italy in Rovigo. Three weeks later McBain retained his spot for the 1st Test against France in Clermont-Ferrand. During that match a scrum collapsed and at least two of the French front row forwards kicked McBain in the head. The sickening acts fractured his skull and fluid from the brain leaked into his throat. To say, as he did, that it was “fortunate” the leak sealed itself after a couple of weeks is a gross understatement. It said much for McBain’s tenacity that he recovered to play four more Tests in a career that extended until 1990.
McBain won his first Test cap propped by Mark Harding and John Coolican in the 29-7 victory over Italy in Rovigo. He won a second cap three weeks later in the 1st Test, 15-15 draw with France in Clermont-Ferrand.
He picked up a single cap alongside Andy McIntyre and Cameron Lillicrap in the 2nd Test, 31-9 win over Fiji in Sydney.
McBain was capped off the bench when he replaced Lawton in the 39-18 defeat of Italy in Brisbane.
He was selected to his first Rugby World Cup where he started in the 42-23 victory over Japan in Sydney.
McBain earned a replacement cap in the 2nd Test, 28-8 win against England in Sydney.
McBain won his final cap when he replaced Lawton in the 1st Test, 30-12 defeat of the British Lions in Sydney.