Peter Francis Ryan
- 487Wallaby Number
Peter Ryan was a speedy, attacking fullback who, like Terry Casey, had the misfortune to arrive in representative rugby during the reign of the highly talented Jim Lenehan. With a powerful left-foot kick Ryan was also a more than useful goal-kicker.
Born in Cooma, Ryan was educated at St Joseph’s College and played in their undefeated 1957 1st XV premiership team. That year he was selected for the GPS 1st XV alongside Scots’ Ken Catchpole.
In 1959 Ryan made his representative debut for the ACT however he then waited several years before his national ambitions were realised. Four years later, and with Lenehan out injured, Ryan played ‘grand attacking football during the 1963 Country Week and in the final Wallaby trials’ to earn both a Test debut against England in Sydney and selection on the Wallaby tour to South Africa. Ryan was chosen as the starting fullback for the opening Test against South Africa before Terry Casey delivered a string of solid performances - highlighted by his bright play and all-round capabilities - to earn a Test debut in Cape Town and then selection for the final two Tests. Casey played against New Zealand in 1964 before Lenehan reclaimed the custodial role for much of the next two seasons.
However, in 1966, Ryan ‘completely outplayed’ Lenehan in the second Wallaby trial and performed ‘extremely well’ in Country’s narrow 3-6 loss to the British Lions and as a result started at fullback in both Tests. Surprisingly he was then omitted from the Fifth Wallabies squad to tour the British Isles, France and Canada however when Casey withdrew at the eleventh-hour Ryan came in as the replacement. He played 13 matches on the tour however with Lenehan fit and well, Ryan did not add to his four Test cap tally.
Ryan won his first Test cap at fullback in the 18-9 victory over England in Sydney. He earned a second cap in the 1st Test, 3-14 loss to South Africa in Pretoria.
Ryan was capped at fullback in both home Tests against the British Lions.