Timothy Paul Kava
Tim Kava was a tough, resolute and earnest lock forward whose unfailing, “in the trenches” performances at club and state level earned him selection on two Wallaby tours. One aspect of Kava’s rugby that deserved great recognition was his leadership. He captained Sydney when they handed the All Blacks their largest ever loss, international or otherwise, and he is the only non-Test player to captain Australia in an uncapped tour match.
Born at Innisfail, in the far north east of Queensland, Kava was raised in nearby Tully where he played rugby league. When his family moved to Sydney Kava attended Waverley College and played his first rugby, for the U11C XV. From that humble beginning Kava finished his schooling with three consecutive years in the 1st XV (1979-81) and along the way won selection in the CAS 2nd XV (1979), CAS 1st XV (1980-81), New South Wales Schools 1st XV (1980-81) and finally Australian Schools (1981/82). That Australian Schools side, led by Steve Tuynman, contained 10 future Wallabies -- Brad Burke, Matthew Burke, Mark Hartill, Kava, David Knox, Cameron Lillicrap, Michael Lynagh, Brett Papworth, Tuynman and Ian Williams -- and went undefeated through their tour to the U.K.
Kava began his senior career in 1983 with Randwick’s 3rd XV however by the end of that season he had been promoted to first grade and played in the Shute Shield grand final loss to Manly. Remarkably, Kava played in a further seven first grade grand finals and won all seven. In 1984 Kava made his debut for Sydney and played a second year with the Australian U21s however he then upped and moved to Wests in the hope of securing a more regular first grade position.
A return to the Galloping Greens in 1987 was followed a year later by his Waratah debut, off the bench, in the 6-42 loss to inaugural Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand. In 1989 Kava won selection on the Wallaby tour to Canada and France where he played three matches including his debut match for Australia, the 45-15 win over British Columbia in Victoria.
In 1990 Kava captained the Emerging Wallabies on their tour to Europe and Great Britain before Rod McCall, John Eales and Steve Cutler secured the lock positions in the successful 1991 Rugby World Cup squad. The following year Kava, playing for New South Wales faced Fiji and Scotland before suffering a 9-41 thumping at the hands of New Zealand. Three weeks after that forgettable loss Kava had the opportunity for revenge when named as captain for Sydney in their mid-week tour match at Penrith. Described by coach Greg Smith as “a memory that they can treasure for the rest of their lives”, Sydney put the All Blacks to the sword with a stunning 40-17, five tries to two “thrashing”. That 23 point margin remains the largest defeat ever suffered by a senior New Zealand side.
1993 saw Kava register another career highlight when the Waratahs, having been humbled 0-2 in the interstate series against Queensland, turned it all around to record a ‘stirring’ 29-28 victory over South Africa at Concord Oval. The one-point margin was said to be “no reflection of the difference between the sides, NSW dominating most facets of play.” At the end of that season Kava was selected for his second Wallaby tour, to North America and France, where he twice captained the side in uncapped fixtures - vs. a South-East XV at Grenoble (W 24-23) and vs. Provence-Littoral at Toulon (L 15-21).
Upon his return home Kava played two further seasons of representative rugby before he officially retired at the end of 1995. However, Kava remained part of rugby as a coach, with his beloved Randwick, and had a year at the helm of first grade in 2005.
Represented Australian Schools
Represented Australian U21s
Represented Australian U21s in their 12-10 defeat of New Zealand Colts at the S.C.G.
Kava played four uncapped matches on the Wallaby tour to North America and France - vs. British Columbia (W 45-15); vs. Pyrenees Selection XV (W 30-22); vs. Provence-Auvergne Selection XV (L 10-19); and vs. L'Ile de France (L 19-21)
Selected on the Wallaby tour to Canada and France, Kava played four uncapped matches - vs. Canada ‘B’ at Calgary (W 40-3), vs. a Sud-Ouest / South-West XV at Agen (W 20-19), vs. Sud-Est / South-East XV at Grenoble (W 24-23), vs. Provence-Littoral XV at Toulon (L 15-21). He was also an unused reserve for the 1st Test, 13-16 loss at Bordeaux.