Paul William Cornish

  • 59Age
  • 3Caps
  • 689Wallaby Number
PositionInside Centre
Date Of BirthJanuary 17, 1965
Place of BirthCanberra
SchoolHawker College, ACT
Debut ClubCanberra Royals
Debut Test Match1990 Wallabies v France, 2nd Test Brisbane
Final Test Match1990 Wallabies v New Zealand, 1st Test Christchurch


Born and bred in Canberra, Paul Cornish was a talented centre who enjoyed one season of international rugby before “a freakish accident” saw him never again play football.

Educated at Hawker College, Cornish showed for the Canberra Royals from where he made his ACT debut against Fiji in 1985. His consistent performances at provincial level earned him selection on the 1998 Wallaby tour to the U.K. and Europe but did not play in any of the Tests.

In 1990, Tim Horan suffered a second-degree medial ligament injury in the 1st Test against France which saw Cornish called in to make his Test debut two weeks later in Brisbane. Cornish then earned a spot in the Australian squad for the tour to New Zealand and played in five matches, including the 1st Test at Lancaster Park.

In 1991 Cornish's rugby career came to an unfortunate end when he broke his neck playing for Australia ‘B’ against New Zealand ‘B’ at Ballymore. According to Wallaby physiotherapist Greg Craig, Cornish "went for a tackle, and then a ruck came over him. Paul tried to straighten his head back up, pushing it up against somebody else, and felt searing pain. It did not result from a scrum or collapsed ruck. It all came down to a freakish accident and even I was surprised how bad the injury was. No doctor, physiotherapist, anyone would allow someone to play again after suffering such an injury.” Coach Bob Dwyer said Cornish's accident was "tragic news". "Every individual in the team was quite stunned when they heard of Paul's injury," Dwyer said. "He is such a great bloke, and has been a very good player." Cornish, who had “played with aplomb” as a fly-half for the ACT, was considered a strong chance to make the Australian World Cup squad to be announced less than a week after the Australia ‘B’ match. It was expected that Cornish would be named as back-up to Michael Lynagh in the 26-man squad for the tournament.



Represented Australian U21s against the Australian Barbarians and was in the match day squad for the ‘Test’ against New Zealand U21s.


Cornish won his first Test cap as the starting inside centre in the 2nd Test, 48-31 win over France in Brisbane. He scored his first Test try in that match to become the 68th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Six days later Cornish retained his spot for the 28-19, 3rd Test win in Sydney. He earned his third and final cap at No.12 in the 1st Test, 6-21 loss to New Zealand in Christchurch.

Paul William Cornish CW profile