Reginald Ewart Lane
- 169Wallaby Number
Reg Lane had a brief career in top-class rugby just after World War I, which was a time that New South Wales found itself spoiled for choice among the three-quarters. Lane, a winger, was not quite as good as players like Slip Carr, Johnny Wallace and Pup Raymond, while his debut was the sort of nightmare that every player dreads. That debut was against the 1921 Springboks, when Lane was chosen for the first Test. Although he was normally a centre in club rugby, Lane was placed on the wing and given the task of marking the Olympic hurdler, Attie van Heerden. Not only was Lane at a serious disadvantage where top-end speed was concerned but he also found the Springbok forwards were commanding possession and most of it was heading van Heerden’s way, reaching him when he had a couple of yards to move in.
The big South African took every chance that was offered and, after opening the scoring early in the match, scored four consecutive tries through the middle stages. Realising they had a real mismatch, the’ Boks kept shunting the ball to van Heerden and he kept scoring tries. Eventually Lane and Carr swapped wings, with the much faster Carr managing to control van Heerden so well that his try-scoring for the series was finished. Lane, not unexpectedly, was dropped after that first Test. He was chosen for the tour of New Zealand that followed later in the year but was a virtual passenger through the tour as his luck continued to hover around the ‘dreadful’ mark.
He missed the first match, played against Waikato, but lasted little more than half the game before he was injured and replaced by Carr. That injury ended his tour and, as it turned out, his career in top –line rugby with New South Wales. He later moved to Melbourne and was one of the State’s leading players as Victoria began what proved to be its golden age of rugby, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Lane captained the side in the mid-1920s although there were few matches - New South Wales did not play the Victorians at this stage and rugby was not even played in Queensland - but Lane did have one further game at the top level, leading the State in its 1926 clash with the All Blacks. Although Victoria was heavily defeated, Lane had the satisfaction of scoring a try against the visitors, who were making their first-ever appearance in Melbourne.