Murray James Tate
- 386Wallaby Number
Murray Tate was a tall, solidly built inside back who formed a solid halves partnership with Brian Cox in the early 1950s. A rugged defender and good handler, Tate was born and bred in Sydney’s east where he attended Waverley College. After school Tate began a lifelong association with the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club. He enjoyed a First Grade premiership in 1946 and then played a big part in taking his club to the grand final the following year when he dropped a goal after the fulltime bell at the Sydney Showgrounds with Easts locked at 9-all with Gordon. Easts went on to clinch the premiership by thrashing Manly 32-6.
In 1948, and despite the presence of two Third Wallabies’ fly halves Mick Cremin and Nev Emery, Tate made his senior representative debut for New South Wales against Queensland. The following season he was made the "scapegoat" when NSW were defeated by the Maori and unfairly found himself bundled out of big football for two years.
In 1951, Tate, described as the ‘the ideal type to succeed against the hard-running All Black centres’ finally earned higher honours with his ‘shock selection’ for the 3rd Test against New Zealand in Brisbane. Over the following two seasons Tate toured to New Zealand and then South Africa before he was the first choice fly half for the two home Tests against Fiji in 1954.
Murray Tate played eight Tests for Australia in a four-year international career.
Tate won his first Test cap at inside centre alongside Keith Gudsell in the 3rd Test, 6-16 loss to New Zealand at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.
Selected at fly half, Tate partnered Brian Cox in the halves for all four Tests - Fiji (2) and New Zealand (2) - of the season.
Tate partnered halfback debutant John Bosler for the 1st Test, 3-25 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg as the Wallabies gambled on weight in their forward pack at the expense of mobility, a factor that nullified the impact of Australia’s backs through poor quality possession. The selectors then made five changes for Cape Town, three of which were in the backline. As a consequence both Bosler and Tate were omitted for Cox and ‘Spanner’ Brown who then held their positions for the two final internationals.
In his final season of international rugby Tate played in both home Tests against Fiji, the first with Cyril Burke and the second outside Cox. In the Brisbane match Tate engineered Australia’s third try when he cut inside Vatubua and sent to Herb Barker and then to Jim Phipps who scored. Next, Tate followed a long run by Wallaby hooker Paul Mooney to take the ball, beat two defenders and score under the posts for what was his only Test try.