Samuel John Payne
- 726Wallaby Number
Born in Tamworth and educated at The Armidale School, Sam Payne was as an extremely talented halfback who while only slight of build earned a reputation as a fearless defender and a wonderful passer of the ball with either hand. He joined the Eastern Suburbs Club in Sydney, played grade football in 1992 and a year later made his debut for New South Wales against the ACT in Canberra.
In 1996, Payne played his maiden Test against Wales in Sydney and confined George Gregan to bench duties for three successive internationals.
Payne played seven Tests in his two-year international career. Four years after his final Test he represented Australia at the 2001 Sevens Rugby World Cup.
Payne won his first Test cap as the starting halfback in the 2nd Test, 42-3 victory over Wales in Sydney. He retained his spot for the next two matches but was one of four casualties from the 6-43, 1st Test loss to New Zealand in Wellington. Payne picked up a fourth cap in the 29-19 win against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Payne earned three caps off the bench against France in Sydney, New Zealand in Melbourne and Argentina in the 2nd Test in Buenos Aires. Interestingly Payne only played halfback in the third of those matches. He was a substitute outside centre who shifted to fly half in the French Test and a replacement fullback against the All Blacks.
Represented Australia at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Argentina.