Thomas Antony Lawton

  • 41Caps
  • 639Wallaby Number
  • 59Age
PositionHooker
Date Of Birth26 November 1962
Place Of BirthDarwin, NT
SchoolThe Southport School, Mt Gravatt High School & The Gap High School
Debut ClubSouthern Districts (Brisbane)
Other ClubsDurban High School Old Boys (SAF)
ProvinceQLD
Other ProvinceNatal (SAF)
Debut Test Match1983 Wallabies v France, 1st Test Clermont-Ferrand
Final Test Match1989 Wallabies v British Isles, 3rd Test Sydney

Biography

The Lawton family is one of the great families of Australian rugby and Tom Jr. was arguably the greatest Australian hooker since the Eddie Bonis (Wallaby #261), a Queenslander who played between the First and Second World Wars. Essentially Lawton’s size and strength changed the nature of hooking in the modern game. Highly effective in the tight, Lawton was considerably faster than he appeared and he often resembled a flanker in the loose. He also possessed a pinpoint lineout throw. Lawton joined Brisbane’s Souths club where he benefited from a perfect grounding in the game’s fundamentals from long-serving coach Roy Elmer. He received a scholarship to The Southport School and played three seasons in the 1st XV and from there represented Australia at both school and aged levels. However, he then failed to win selection for Queensland due to the presence of Mark McBain. That fact became somewhat irrelevant when Lawton played three Test matches before his Reds’ debut. In 1983 Chris Carberry, Bill Ross and Lance Walker had retired, and Bruce Malouf was to be married. As a consequence Lawton was selected along with McBain for the Wallaby tour of Italy and France. When McBain suffered a suspected fractured skull in the 1st Test against France, Lawton made his Test debut. In 1984, Lawton toured Fiji and his two props were Enrique Rodriguez and Andy McIntyre. This trio provided the strong scrum platform from which Australia drove much of their success across the next three seasons. One of Lawton’s most memorable moments came at Cardiff Arms Park in the third Test of the 1984 Grand Slam tour when the Australian eight shunted the Welsh scrum over their tryline and Steve Tuynman scored the now famous pushover try. Far from a highlight but no less memorable was Lawton’s desperate effort in cover defence to stop French fullback Serge Blanco as he scored the winning try in the 1987 Rugby World Cup semi-final. Tom Lawton played 41 Tests for Australia in a seven-year international career.

Highlights

1980
Represented Australian Schools

1982
Represented Australian U21s against Fiji U21 (47-4) at Ballymore and New Zealand U21 (36-12) at the S.C.G.

1983
Represented Australian U21s when they defeated New Zealand U21s 26-18 at Pukekohe. Lawton won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Mark McBain in the 1st Test, 15-15 draw with France in Clermont-Ferrand. Six days later Lawton earned his first run-on XV cap alongside Andy McIntyre and John Coolican in the 2nd Test, 6-15 loss in Paris.

1984
Lawton was propped by Andy McIntyre and Enrique ‘Topo’ Rodriguez in all eight Wallaby Tests. He scored his first Test try in the 28-3 victory over Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.

1985
Lawton, McIntyre and Rodriguez started the opening four Tests of the year however Mark McBain (for Lawton) and Cameron Lillicrap (for Rodriguez) came into the side for the 2nd Test against Fiji.

1986
He played all seven Tests, the first four with McIntyre and Rodriguez and the three Test Bledisloe Cup series with Mark Hartill and Rodriguez.

1987
Lawton started nine Tests at hooker and was selected to his first Rugby World Cup where he played in five of Australia’s six matches.

1988
He was capped in all eight Wallaby internationals with McIntyre as his tighthead prop. Three loosehead props were chosen throughout the year - Rob Lawton (3), Peter Kay (1) and Mark Hartill (4).

1989
In his final season of international rugby Lawton played in each of the three Tests against the touring British Lions.
Thomas Antony Lawton