Rodney Bruce Kafer
- 755Wallaby Number
Rod Kafer was one of the most tactically astute Wallabies of all-time. Widely considered among the foremost thinkers of the game, analytical yet logical in his approach, Kafer was a core component of the Wallabies during their golden era of the late 1990s. Born in Newcastle but educated at Canberra Grammar, Kafer played soccer as a child, experimented with AFL for a season before he tried his hand at rugby where - as a fullback - he was a two try hero when the ACT won the national Schools Championship in 1988. He went on to play for Australian Schools and was chosen in the AIS Australian U21 squad. Kafer played his club rugby with Wests (Canberra) and the Canberra Kookaburras and it was from there he was named to start at No.15 for the second Bledisloe Cup Test of 1995. At a North Sydney Oval training session ahead of that match Kafer broke his ankle in three places and with it went a potential Wallaby debut.
The following year Kafer joined the fledgling ACT Brumbies franchise however it was not until the 1999 season that his strong Super Rugby performances put him firmly in the frame for a national recall. While Nathan Spooner and then Tim Horan were picked at fly half for the opening internationals the selectors opted for Kafer to make his debut as the No.10 in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney. On a wet, slick night in front of more than 107,000 fans Kafer was tactically sublime, particularly with his use of the grubber kick, in order to constantly turn the All Blacks around in defence. Australia handed the All Blacks their largest ever defeat and retained the much coveted Bledisloe Cup. He was duly selected to his first Rugby World Cup where he became a World Champion. Australia won 10 of the 12 Tests Kafer played during his two-year international career.
Represented Australian Schools against New Zealand Schools.
Selected in the AIS Australian U21 squad.
Kafer won his first Test cap at fly-half in the 2nd Test, 28-7 record win over New Zealand in Sydney. He played two more matches at the Rugby World Cup, against Romania in Belfast and the United States in Limerick.
Kafer played nine Tests throughout the season. He started twice at inside centre and three times, during the Spring Tour, at No.10.