Rudolph William "Ru" Dorr
- 302Wallaby Number
Ru Dorr was a winger, a genuine flyer of electric pace, who graduated from the athletics track to club rugby in Victoria and finally to an Australian Test jersey. Born and bred in Melbourne, Dorr was induced to rugby in the late 1920s with little else than his regard as one of Victoria's premier amateur sprinters. A member of the Melbourne YMCA Amateur Athletic Club, Dorr was clocked at better than even time (9.6secs and 9.85secs) for the 100 yards during his career. So quick was Dorr that on more than one occasion he was approached to enter the Stawell Gift only to refuse in order to retain his amateur status.
He began his rugby with St. Kilda and played first grade in 1929. A year later Dorr’s name was touted by several good judges who believed that ‘State representation must come his way before long’, and they were right. In 1931, Dorr debuted for Victoria against the Combined Universities however due to poor scheduling his first match against a touring international side did not come until 1935 when he started against the New Zealand Maori. The Maori won 28-16 however Dorr scored a good try and generally ‘shone’ on the wing.
That performance paved the way for his selection on the 1936 Wallaby tour of New Zealand. Dorr played in four uncapped matches with the ‘Jockey’ Kelaher and Doug McLean preferred in the two Tests. However, he did start against the Maori at Palmerston North, a game that some half a century later was elevated to international status by the ARU and as such is now recorded as his Test debut. The next year South Africa toured Australia and Dorr faced them in their opening match. He was the best of the Victorians, and with limited opportunities scored an excellent 50-yard try that left fullback Gerry Brand badly beaten.
In 1939 the Second Wallaby tour to Britain was the sole focus for all elite Australian rugby players. Unfortunately Dorr badly bruised his ribs playing for Victoria against Queensland and missed all of the remaining trial matches. As a consequence his name was not in the 29-man squad named for the ill-fated and ultimately abandoned tour. In 1940 Dorr joined the 2/2 Medium Field Regiment at Puckapunyal. He attained the rank of Sergeant and served two tours overseas, including one in New Guinea, during the course of the war. Ru Dorr played two Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Dorr won his first Test cap on the left wing in the 31-0 victory over the Maori at Showgrounds Oval.
Dorr started on the right wing in the 1st Test, 5-9 loss to South Africa at the S.C.G. He was selected for the second Test but sprained his ankle at the final training session, withdrew, and was replaced by Frank O’Brien.