Terrence Robert Forman
- 522Wallaby Number
Terry Forman was a swift, evasive three quarter who launched a Test career off the back of one particularly outstanding season of club football with the University of Sydney. Forman is equally well remembered for his decision, alongside six of his Wallaby teammates- Tony Abrahams, Jim Boyce, Paul Darveniza, Barry McDonald, Jim Roxburgh and Bruce Taafe - to stand down from possible selection against the touring all-white 1971 Springboks in protest at South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Born in Sydney, Forman attended SydneyTechnical High School when he won a Commonwealth Scholarship and a Teachers’ College Scholarship. He represented the school in squash, athletics, swimming, diving and rugby union. In his final year Forman won an athletics Blue, became the first grade squashcaptain, the open athletics champion, and was promoted from fourths to the 1st XV. He mostly played at centre, where it was said he “proved his attacking ability, and his speed often turned defence into attack.”
In 1965 Forman played with the Sydney TechnicalHigh Old Boys’ team in the local competition while he commenced a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at the University of Sydney. A year later he joined the University rugby club and won a spot on the wing in First Grade by mid-season. In 1967 Formanplayed his first game of representative rugby for New South Wales against Victoria. As a result of a stellar 1968 season he was selected on the Wallaby tour to Ireland and Scotland and made his Test debut at Lansdowne Road. Forman then played six consecutiveTests through to the end of the 1969 tour of South Africa. In the final days of that tour, Abrahams wrote a letter to the editor of TheSydney Morning Herald. The letter, headlined‘South Africa and Sport’,was published on October 8 and generated much discussion and opinion about the nation’s racial discrimination policies. Upon the teams’ return to Australia the other six players agreed that while they were not political activists they had a ‘moral responsibility’to oppose apartheid.
In May of 1970 an opportunity presented itself to speak out. Geoffrey Robertson, the future Queens Counsel and international human-rights barrister, was also the editor of Blackacre,the journal of the Sydney University Law Society. Robertson invited the Wallabies to be interviewed about their time in South Africa. The article that resulted from the interview, ‘PoliticalFootball’, also published in TheAustralian (21/05/70), was a definitivecatalyst for the organised opposition to the 1971 Springbok tour. The players then wrote to the Australian Rugby Union and confirmed what they had told Robertson: if selected, they would not play against the Springboks. By that stage Forman was of the viewthat his rugby career had run its course. He wantedto study fine art and drawing, he wanted to paint, to travel and to learn about life.
Soon thereafter Forman found himself in a cafe in Vientiane, Laos where he met some rugby players who were playing for Laos against a New Zealand team. Forman asked if hecould have a game and ended up at slotting in at fly half for the Kiwis. That was the last game of rugby he ever played, aged just 23. The“Rugby Seven” as the group had become known, were later hailed as the “Magnificent Seven” after it was recognised that a direct line could be traced from their actions, to the referendum that marked the end of apartheid in 1994. Their deeds were honoured whenSouth African President Nelson Mandela bestowed upon them the Medal of Freedom. Terry Forman played seven Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Formanwon his first Test cap on the left wing in the 3-10 loss to Ireland in Dublin. He retained his position for the 3-9 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield.
Formanand John Cole were the wingers in all four away Tests against South Africa. He scored his first Test try in the 1st Test, 11-30 loss at Ellis Park.