- 451Wallaby Number
Tom Baxter was a versatile utility back who enjoyed a tough initiation to international rugby when chosen in the youngest Wallaby team to tour New Zealand. Born and raised in Brisbane, Baxter was educated at Brisbane Grammar School. He played his club rugby for the University of Queensland from where he was selected to make his senior representative debut for Queensland against the Springboks in 1956. In 1958 his versatility earned him a spot on his first Wallaby tour to New Zealand. The team was written off before departure but surprised the pundits by their performances.
There were thirteen games on tour, and Baxter played in seven of them, five as a centre, one as a wing and one as a fly half. On the morning of the third and deciding Test in Auckland, Wallaby centre Danny Kay failed a fitness Test on his injured ankle and withdrew. As a consequence Baxter, who had trained well with the team on Friday in anticipation of his inclusion, was called in for his Test debut. The tour marked the end of Baxter's rugby days in Australia as he was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship.
Baxter received two Blues for Oxford in 1958 and again in 1959. During his time in England, Baxter also played club rugby for Blackheath. Tom Baxter played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #451.
Baxter won his first Test cap at outside centre alongside Beres Ellwood in the 3rd Test, 8-17 loss to New Zealand at Epsom Showgrounds.