Vincent William Heinrich
- 404Wallaby Number
Vince Heinrich was a schoolboy prodigy who represented his country but retired due to injury when well within his rugby prime.
Born in Moree, Heinrich was educated at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill where he played three years in the 1st XV (1950-52), the final two as captain. He was described as “easily the best schoolboy forward” in his final year.
A very talented, intelligent and powerful back row forward, Heinrich, who was also a more than handy goal kicker, made an immediate impact upon leaving school. He joined the Randwick club and in his first season was a reserve for City against Country. Heinrich was then invited to play in the final trial for the tour to South Africa. Unfortunately he was one of the last players cut before the final squad was announced.
The following year Fiji toured Australia for a two Test series. In the opening round of the Sydney competition the incumbent Wallaby No.8 Brian Johnson injured his knee. As a result Heinrich was chosen for the Metropolitan side to play the Fijians and ten days later made his state debut against the tourists. He scored a late try to seal New South Wales’ 16-13 victory and his defence was described as “remarkable”. That performance earned Heinrich a maiden Test start in Brisbane. Although Johnson had returned from injury, and played in the second NSW v. Fiji match, the selectors retained Heinrich at the back of the scrum for the 2nd Test. Unfortunately a succession of injuries influenced his retirement at the age of 22.
Vince Heinrich played two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Heinrich won his first Test cap at flanker alongside Keith Cross and Jack Pashley in the 1st Test, 22-19 win over Fiji at the Exhibition Ground. That same backrow was retained for the 2nd Test, 16-18 loss at the S.C.G.