Rex David L'Estrange
- 547Wallaby Number
David L’Estrange was a high quality, tactically astute and versatile footballer who commanded a starting spot in the Wallabies for six seasons during the early to mid-1970s. A vigorous tackler with sublime handling skills, L’Estrange commenced his rugby career at Marist Brothers College Ashgrove in Brisbane. He played three years of 1st XV (1964-66), the last two under the coaching of Brother Terrance (Wallaby #418 Terry Curley). Curley’s method of training was revolutionary for schoolboy rugby at that time. It incorporated a high-level fitness regime with continuous forward drills and backline moves. Curley put L’Estrange at fullback, and developed a strong attacking style of play which revolved around forward control and recycled ball possession. After school, L’Estrange joined The Past Christian Brothers Old Boys Rugby Club and in 1968 made his debut for Queensland against New South Wales Country. He toured New Zealand with Queensland in 1970 as a utility back but started the final match at centre where he remained for the rest of his career.
In early 1971 L’Estrange came on as replacement for Queensland against the British Lions. L’Estrange broke his scaphoid bone and played out the rest of the season with a fractured wrist. As a result he initially failed the medical for the Wallaby tour to France as he could not complete a push-up test. Eventually L’Estrange received a clear medical certificate however it was not until four years later that he finally had surgery on the wrist. On that tour L’Estrange made his Test debut in Toulouse and scored the first four point try in international rugby. He traveled to Wales, England and Italy at the end of 1973 and was honoured with the captaincy in the uncapped match against an Italian XV. L’Estrange finally went under the knife in 1975, missed the domestic series against England and Japan, and thought his career was over. Fortunately the recovery period was just three months and he was selected in the Sixth Wallabies for the 1975/76 tour to the U.K.
David L’Estrange played 16 Tests for Australia in a six-year international career.
L’Estrange won his first Test cap at outside centre alongside Geoff Shaw in the 1st Test, 13-11 victory over France in Toulouse. He scored his first Test tries to become the 46th Wallaby to score a try on debut. L’Estrange and Shaw were together again for the 2nd Test, 9-18 loss in Paris.
L’Estrange missed the two home Tests against France after fractured his tibia at the ankle against New South Wales then played all three Bledisloe Cup Tests in partnership with Dave Burnet.
L’Estrange started all four Tests, the first two against Tonga at outside centre in combination with Trevor Stegman and the internationals against Wales and England at No.13 with Geoff Shaw at inside centre.
L’Estrange and Shaw were capped in the centres for all three home Tests against New Zealand.
He was unavailable for the two home series against England and Japan after he underwent surgery on his wrist.
L’Estrange returned to play in four of the five Tests at No.13 on the Sixth Wallabies tour to Britain and North America. He played outside John Berne against Scotland, and with Geoff Shaw for the internationals against Wales, England and the U.S.A.