Reginald Thomas Ferguson
- 181Wallaby Number
Reg Ferguson was one of a number of handy locks that were available to the New South Wales selectors of the early 1920s, without having quite the commanding presence of Charlie Fox, Watty Friend or Bond Bonnor. As a result he did not achieve the same renown as those players and his appearances were more scattered. At 5ft 10in (1.78m) and 12 stone (76kg) he was hardly a giant, even by the small standards of the day, and this lack of size also told against him. He made his debut in the second match of the 1922 series against New Zealand Maori, replacing Ray Elliott during the match, and held his spot for the third game.
This series was a bright and open affair, with every match high-scoring and played at a good clip. New South Wales secured its only win in the second match, although the Waratahs appeared to be in command in the third before the visitors, inspired by Wattie Barclay and his four tries, took the decider by a single point. Ferguson also played for the State Second XV against the tourists in a match that fell to the Maori by 27-18. He played the first match against a full All Black side three weeks later but injured an ankle in the early stages of the match and was replaced, both on the field and for the rest of the series, by Elliott. He was pitched into the unfamiliar position of prop when recalled for the third match of the 1923 Maori series, which New South Wales won to sweep the series, and was selected for the tour of New Zealand.
This tour was unsuccessful from the moment at least ten of the leading players declared themselves unavailable for one reason or another – a further six students in the party did not arrive in New Zealand until after the second match due to exams – and the final playing record, with two wins set against eight losses, tells an eloquent tale of the difficulties faced by this young side. Ferguson, although one of the players with Test experience, was not used much on tour. He played the first two matches – the party was still waiting for its two premier locks, Hugh Taylor (who were among those sitting exams) and Bill Marrott – before sitting out the next six games.
He returned to the action when Marrott sat a couple of matches out with a slight injury and one of those was the third match of the Test series. New South Wales lost the first two matches against greatly changed All Black sides as the home selectors, aware that they had the tourists’ measure, looked at 37 players with an eye on selection for the 1924 British tour. Despite making 14 changes, New Zealand still won the match easily. On tour the Waratahs had suffered badly from being heavily outweighed in almost every match and being considerably shorter in the lineout than their opposition. Ferguson, despite the effort he put into each match, was simply too small to cope with much bigger New Zealand forwards and he ended his international career at Wellington.