Mitchell Duncan Hardy
- 735Wallaby Number
Mitch Hardy was a direct running winger with a handy swerve who was hailed as a ‘super sub’ when he made his Test debut.
Hardy graduated from Ku-ring-gai High School in Sydney’s north, played club rugby for Gordon and from there was snapped up by the ACT Brumbies for the inaugural season of Super Rugby. His consistent performances saw him included in the 1997 Wallaby squad for the home series against the French. Hardy then made a remarkable debut in the 2nd Test at the Sydney Football Stadium.
In the 60th minute he ran on as a blood-bin replacement for Stephen Larkham. Nine minutes later he received the ball five or so metres out from the French line. He stepped both ways, ghosted through four defenders and scored. Three minutes after his first try he capitalised on some excellent lead-up work from Ben Tune to twice dribble ahead and score a second try.
Mitch Hardy played eight Tests for Australia in his two-year international career.
Hardy won his first Test cap off the bench when he substituted Stephen Larkham at fullback and then switched with Joe Roff to left wing in the 1st Test, 29-15 victory over France in Sydney. He scored two Test tries in that match to become the 75th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Hardy was also the first Australian since Tim Lane against Canada in 1985 to score two tries in his first Test. He won another five caps including two in the away series against Argentina.
Hardy earned his final two Test caps during the qualifying matches for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. He made his run-on XV debut on the left wing in the 74-0 defeat of Tonga in Canberra and retained his spot four days later for the 25-13 win against Western Samoa in Brisbane.