Simon Paul Poidevin
- 614Wallaby Number
Few have shown greater pride in playing for their country than Simon Poidevin. A desire for perfection, fathomless fitness, physical aggression, intensity and unrivalled determination were the hallmarks of the flame-haired flanker. Poidevin, who dominated the side of the Australian scrum for more than a decade, was the ultimate competitor. Alan Jones once said that some players have been as good but none better than the man who would become the Wallaby talisman of his era.
A country boy, born and bred at ‘Braemar’, Poidevin benefitted from athletic genes that ran deep. His mother’s father Les Hannon was a three-quarter who, when on the verge of travelling with the 1908 Wallabies, broke his leg. His father’s cousin was Dr Leslie Oswald Poidevin, the first Australian to score a hundred centuries at all levels of cricket. The Poidevin-Gray shield remains as testimony to his efforts. He also played in the Davis Cup. Poidevin was educated at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn from where he won selection for Australian Schools in 1976.
In 1977 he played for the premiership-winning Goulburn Dirty Reds and won their best and fairest award. The following year he joined the University of New South Wales. Poidevin played his first representative rugby in 1979 when he debuted for both Sydney and New South Wales.
He was then selected in the Wallaby trial for the tour to Argentina but didn’t win any game time. His continued good form saw him rewarded with a spot on the Wallaby tour, from Sydney 2nd division, to Fiji the following May and it was in Suva that he made his Test debut. That same season he played in all three Tests against New Zealand and was a vital part of Australia’s first successful defence of the Bledisloe Cup and first home series win over New Zealand since 1934.
The highlights kept on coming - the 1984 ‘Grand Slam’, the 1986 series defeat of New Zealand on their own soil and the 1991 Rugby World Cup victory. Poidevin later said that the Grand Slam side was easily the best rugby team with which he had been associated. For a complete team from front to back that group were almost faultless. It was the complete side.
Another notable moment in a great career came in 1986 when he was named as the 60th Wallaby to captain his country, against Argentina in Brisbane. It was somewhat fitting that Poidevin’s last Test was the final of the 1991 World Rugby Cup. To return home a World Champion was the ultimate reward for a wonderful career.
Simon Poidevin played 59 Tests for Australia, four as captain, in his decorated 12-year international career.
Represented Australian Schools against Sydney Colts.
Poidevin won his first Test cap on the flank alongside Tony Shaw and fellow debutant Duncan Hall in the 16-3 victory over Fiji in Suva. He also played in all three Bledisloe Cup tests against New Zealand.
He started in all six Wallaby Tests, the first two against France with Mark Loane and Shaw and the final four on the tour to Britain in partnership with Loane and Greg Cornelsen. Poidevin scored his first Test try in the 17-15 victory over France in Brisbane.
Poidevin did not play in the home series about Scotland but returned to win selection on the Wallaby tour to New Zealand. He played in all three Tests in combination with Chris Roche and Peter Lucas.
Poidevin and Roche started all seven internationals against the U.S.A. (1), Argentina (2), New Zealand (1), Italy (1) and France (2).
He started on the flank in all eight Tests, five with Roche and three - against England, Wales and Scotland - alongside David Codey.
Poidevin played in each of the five Wallaby Tests and represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Poidevin was capped seven times and became the 60th Wallaby to captain his country in the 1st Test, 39-19 victory over Argentina at Ballymore. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s and was selected in the Southern Hemisphere side that played the Northern Hemisphere to celebrate the International Rugby Board centenary.
Poidevin was selected to the inaugural Rugby World Cup. He won caps in the warm-up match with South Korea and in the tournament proper against England, Japan (as captain), Ireland, France and Wales. In the pool game against Japan, Poidevin won his 42nd cap to break Tony Miller’s Australian record. Poidevin captained the Wallabies on their tour to South America. He played in the 1st Test against Argentina but broke his hand, an injury that saw him miss the 2nd Test. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
In early May, Poidevin announced his retirement from international rugby, but it was no sooner proclaimed than on June 5th, seven days before the 2nd Test against England, he captained NSW to a 23-12 win over the tourists. His was possibly the shortest retirement on record. Poidevin started all three Tests against New Zealand but made himself unavailable for the end-of-season tour to the northern hemisphere. In the 3rd Bledisloe Cup Test, Poidevin became the first Australian to win 50 caps.
Poidevin was also unavailable for the series against the British Lions but was parachuted in for the one-off Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland. He was not available for selection on the tour to Canada and France. Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.
Poidevin declared himself unavailable for Wallaby selection.
In his last season of international rugby he won a total of eight caps, the first of which was the then record 40-15 victory over England in Sydney followed by both Bledisloe Cup Tests. Poidevin was selected to his second Rugby World Cup where he started in five of Australia’s six matches including the 12-6 defeat of England in the tournament final.
Although retired, Poidevin played one last match for Australia when, due to an injury crisis, he stepped out of the commentary box and onto the field against the The Welsh Students at Bridgend. Australia won the game to avenge a Wallaby loss, in which Poidevin played, at the same ground in 1981.