Peter Neave Buchanan
- 195Wallaby Number
When World War I ended on 11 November 1918, there were up to 250,000 of the military waiting to get back to Australia. In order to keep them reasonably happy, a group of initiatives was approved, which included non-military employment and a programme incorporating a wide variety of sports. The Inter-Allied Games were held in Paris, and embraced sports such as basketball, baseball, boxing, football (American, soccer and rugby), quoits, setting-up drill, tennis, track and field athletics, volleyball, wrestling, tug-of-war, cageball, 'informal games', walking trips, golf and swimming. In addition, King George V gave a cup (the King's Cup) for “rugby competition among nations represented in the allied armies.” These were:- The Imperial Army (called the 'Mother Country'), Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Royal Air Force and South Africa.
Sixteen matches were held, and New Zealand emerged victorious. Exhaustive trials were held by the AIF, a 23 player team and a Reserve team were selected. Some 60-70 were brought together at Beaumont in France, and there were some three weeks of training and match play. A team was selected to play the French Army, and Peter Buchanan was selected as captain and Jimmy Clarken and 'Muncie' Fraser the coaches. This team beat the French Army team, and then proceeded to England. Some 40 players were put in quarters in Warwick Square, London,to prepare for the competitions. Lt.Billy Watson was the new captain, and Major Wally Mathews, who was the Wallaby manager to South Africa in 1933, was the manager. The first team included Company Sgt-Major Peter Buchanan. The AIF team won 12 of its 16 matches, and it was then decided to have them tour Australia.
As rugby had ceased in Australia because of the war, it provided an opportunity to re-launch the code. Much credit must be given this AIF side because of its success at bringing the code back, but after they left Queensland did not restructure the game, and it was in oblivion in the northern State from 1919 to 1929. The AIF played eight matches in Australia. The first was against NSW and the AIF romped home by 42 to 14. Peter Buchanan, a five-eighth, kicked four conversions in the game. The AIF's second match was against Australia, though none of these games has been awarded representative status. The AIF won 25 to 18, Peter Buchanan kicking two conversions. In the third match, against New England, at Armidale, the AIF dominated once more (36 to 11).
Buchanan served as captain in this match, and kicked three conversions. The next encounter was against the Queensland AIF was played, the result being 30 to 3. Buchanan did not appear in this match. A match was held against Australia at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, Buchanan kicking two conversions, and the AIF winning, though not so convincingly, by 20 to 13. The next match was played at Inverell against North-West Union, the AIF dominating by 52 to 6, and Buchanan kicking two conversions. The last was against Australia at the Sydney Sports Ground, the AIF maintaining its unbeaten record with a 22 to 6 score, Buchanan kicked two goals.
In all, Peter Buchanan played in seven of the eight AIF matches, exceeded only by Tom Stenning and Johnny Bond. He also led the point scoring, with 43. After the tour Peter Buchanan played for Glebe-Balmain. He did not get a run against the New Zealand side of 1920, perhaps still being caught up with the military, but he appeared for the Metropolitan team against the 1921 Springboks, captaining the side and kicking two conversions. It was a decent showing by the Metropolitan team, being narrowly defeated by 8 to 14. Buchanan did not get a run against the 1922 All Blacks, but he did get on the field in the second NSW match against the 1923 Maori tourists. He came on as a replacement when 'Pup' Raymond was injured.
The team on that day was Otto Nothling, Roland Raymond (replaced by Allen Bowers), Larry Wogan, Ronald Stanley, Owen Crossman, Billy Sheehan (replaced by Peter Buchanan), Arthur Walker, Bill Marrott, Harry Tancred, Ray Elliott, Watty Friend (capt.), Bond Bonner, Charles Thompson, Duncan Fowles and Arthur Erby. 'Pup' Raymond and Billy Sheehan were unable to play in the third NSW match (won 14-12 by the Blues), but Buchanan started in the game, as a centre with 'Bot' Stanley. The wingers were Owen Crossman and Allen Bowers. This was the highlight of his representative career. He would play in two Tests, and must have had immense satisfaction in having such an important role with the AIF team in assisting the restoration of rugby union in Australia. Buchanan was born and educated in New Zealand, but his name is not listed in The Encyclopedia of New Zealand Rugby as New Zealand has never approved Maori games as Test matches, whereas Australia has.