Peter Ratcliffe Rothwell
- 381Wallaby Number
Peter Rothwell was a promising, goal-kicking fullback who briefly filled a troublesome position in the Wallaby backline during the early 1950s. At one stage in the late 1940s through the early 1950s Australia selected four different fullbacks in four consecutive Tests. The last of those four was Rothwell whose meteoric rise saw him pitched into international rugby in his first season of top flight rugby. Born in Melbourne yet a product of North Sydney Technical High School, Rothwell joined Northern Suburbs in 1951 where, as a reserve grader, he was soon preferred to outstanding scorer Jack Patterson as the First Grade full-back.
Within weeks he represented North Harbour and from there won a debut for New South Wales against Queensland. A superior goal kicking performance for his state against the All Blacks saw Rothwell chosen for his maiden Test , against the tourists, in Sydney. The following season Rothwell continued his good form and, despite suffering influenza, was the custodian for the opening Test against Fiji before illness and a subsequent failed medical test robbed him of the opportunity to take his place on the tour to New Zealand.
In 1953, Rothwell was considered a ‘prominent candidate’ for the tour of South Africa. That was before what was described as a ‘goal-kicking farce’ from North in the key North 1 v South 1 trial saw Ray Colbert win the state jumper, a decision that ultimately cost Rothwell a spot in the Wallaby squad. The following season Rothwell returned to Melbourne where he linked up with the Kiwis club. Peter Rothwell played four Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Rothwell won his first Test cap in the 1st Test, 0-8 loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G. He retained his spot for the final two Tests of the series.
Rothwell started at fullback in the opening Test 15-9 victory over against Fiji at the S.C.G. but withdrew from the second due to a septic throat. As a result Ray Colbert was named to make his Test debut. Selected for the subsequent tour to New Zealand Rothwell failed to pass a medical test and was ruled out of the squad.