- 593Wallaby Number
Martin Knight was a fast, tradesman-like, strong defending centre who played a crucial role in a watershed series for Australian rugby. Born in Sale, England, Martin attended Parramatta High School and played his club rugby with the Two Blues.
In 1978 Knight had his first taste of representative rugby when he debuted for Sydney against the Australian Barbarians. He then performed courageously for Sydney when they edged Five Nations and Grand Slam champions Wales 18-16 at the Sydney Sports Ground. Wales then went on to beat both New South Wales (without Knight, who in fact never played for his state) and Queensland.
As a result it was Knight’s form in the Sydney match which prompted the selectors to pick him for a Test debut in Brisbane. Knight and fellow debutant Andrew Slack more than held their own in the midfield against the British Lions combination of Ray Gravell and Steve Fenwick. The 18-8 victory was vitally important for the Wallabies given that Wales had dished out a record 28-3 beating when the sides had last met in Cardiff three years earlier. Knight was then named on the Wallaby tour to New Zealand however the first Test of that series was his last.
In 1979 Knight was diagnosed with leukaemia and tragically passed away five years later. Martin Knight played three Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Knight won his first Test cap at inside centre in partnership with fellow debutant Andrew Slack in the 18-8, 1st Test victory over Wales in Brisbane. He and Slack were retained for the 19-17, 2nd Test win at the S.C.G. and started together in the 1st Test, 12-13 loss to New Zealand at Athletic Park.