Matthew James Cockbain

  • 51Age
  • 63Caps
  • 736Wallaby Number
PositionFlanker / Lock
Date Of BirthSeptember 19, 1972
Place of BirthCoffs Harbour, NSW
SchoolInnisfail High School
Debut ClubGPS (Brisbane)
Debut Test Match1997 Wallabies v France, 2nd Test Brisbane
Final Test Match2003 Wallabies v England, Rugby World Cup Final, Sydney
Rugby World Cups1999 & 2003


A versatile back-rower / lock, Matt Cockbain was an unheralded hero during Australia’s golden era of the late 1990s, early 2000s.

A Queensland country boy from Innisfail, Cockbain had a low profile relative to many of his peers however when on the field he proved highly effective. Fast and strong, Cockbain was an excellent option in the lineout and more often than not tackled himself to a standstill. He proved invaluable either as a starter or off the bench.

In 1995, Cockbain debuted for Queensland against an England XV at Ballymore and two years later made his Test debut against France in Brisbane. Cockbain then proved to be near-indispensable to the Wallabies. From 1998 to 2002 he missed just five of 57 Tests.

In 1999 he was selected to his first Rugby World Cup, started in the final against France and returned home a World Champion.

Matt Cockbain played 63 Tests for Australia in his seven-year international career.




Cockbain won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced David Wilson at openside flanker and then switched to No.6 with Brett Robinson in the 2nd Test, 26-19 victory over France in Sydney. A week later he made his run-on XV debut at lock in the 13-30 loss to New Zealand in Christchurch. Cockbain won a total of four caps for the season.


Cockbain played all 13 Tests and started 12 of them at blindside flanker.


He earned a total of 11 caps, ten at No.6, and won selection to his first Rugby World Cup. He played in four of Australia’s six matches and started in the final against France.


Cockbain played the opening Test against Argentina in Brisbane but was then sidelined after he seriously injured his knee in the 2nd Test at Canberra. He returned to pick up five more caps from the remaining six Wallaby internationals.


Cockbain came off the bench in each of the first 10 Tests before he won a starting cap at lock in the final international of the season against Wales in Cardiff. He scored his first Test try against Spain in Madrid.


Cockbain was capped in all 10 Tests. He won replacement caps in the opening six internationals and started each of the final four on the Spring Tour at blindside flanker. Cockbain played his 50th Test in the 38-27, 1st Test win over South Africa in Brisbane.


Cockbain was not selected for the domestic Tests and three of the four Tri Nations internationals. He was in the squad for the 2nd Test against New Zealand in Auckland but was ruled out when he contracted chickenpox. Nonetheless, Cockbain was then selected to his second Rugby World Cup and played in all seven matches of the tournament.

Matthew James Cockbain