Michael Peter Purcell
- 500Wallaby Number
Mike Purcell was a young, tall, abrasive back row forward / lock who, like fellow Queensland giant Ross Teitzel, retired well shy of his rugby prime at just 21 years of age.
Born and bred in Brisbane, Purcell learned his rugby at St Columban’s College where his liking for running saw him play at fly half. When he moved to Nudgee College he was shifted to the second row because of his height.
After school he joined the Brothers Club and settled into a position in the back row. In 1963 Purcell represented Queensland U18s at No.8 and two years later made his senior debut on the flank against New South Wales at Bathurst. When the selectors announced the 1966/67 Fifth Wallabies touring party to Britain, Purcell, Ross Teitzel and David Taylor were included to strengthen the Australian line out. His good early performances earned him a Test debut against Wales in Cardiff.
In 1967 Purcell started against Ireland in Sydney but later that year broke his wrist and retired from the game in order to concentrate on the completion of his law degree.
Mick Purcell played three Tests for Australia in a six-month international career.
Purcell won his first Test cap at flanker in combination with Greg Davis and John O’Gorman in the 14-11 victory over Wales in Cardiff. Two weeks later that same back row started in the 5-11 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield.
Purcell partnered Ross Teitzel in the middle row in the 5-11 loss to Ireland at the S.C.G.