William Alexander Campbell
- 640Wallaby Number
Standing more than two metres tall Bill Campbell was always going to play lock. Appropriately it was in the lineout that Campbell achieved genuine world class. Educated at St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace, Campbell - like fellow future Wallabies Nick Farr-Jones and Phil Kearns - played 2nd XV rugby in his final year. He initially played his club footy for University however in his first season was kicked in the head, suffered post-concussion symptoms and as a consequence stepped away from rugby to pursue his medical studies.On his return to rugby Campbell played for Wests and made Queensland U21s.
Campbell’s big break came in 1984 when he earned a debut for Queensland against Fiji at Ballymore. Just two months later, and with neither Steve Williams nor David Hillhouse in the Wallaby squad for the short three match tour of Fiji, Campbell made his Test debut in Suva. He then won selection on the Eighth Wallaby / ‘Grand Slam’ tour to the U.K. and Ireland at the end of the year however Williams and Steve Cutler locked the scrum in each of the four internationals. When Williams retired at the end of the 1985 Test season Campbell was the automatic choice to partner Cutler.
The following year the pair combined as the Wallabies became just the fourth team to win a Test series on New Zealand soil. Campbell won selection in the Wallaby squad for the 1987 Rugby World Cup however disaster struck in the key semi-final with France. In the first half, and having already lost inside centre Brett Papworth to a medial ligament injury, Campbell himself was replaced after Nick Farr-Jones fell into his left knee while making a tackle and tore the posterior capsule in Campbell’s left knee.
Campbell returned for the 1988 end of year tour to England and Scotland and was honoured with the captaincy in the uncapped match against Northern Division at Otley. He also captained the Wallabies in another nine uncapped matches during his career. Campbell’s final Test came in 1990 when Australia broke the All Blacks’ 50 match winning streak with an upset 21-9 victory in Wellington. Bill Campbell played 22 Tests for Australia in a seven-year international career.
Campbell won his first Test cap at lock alongside fellow debutant Nigel Holt in the 16-3, one-off Test victory over Fiji in Suva.
Campbell played in all seven Wallaby Tests. He partnered Steve Cutler in five matches - Italy, France and New Zealand (3) - and Ross Reynolds in the two Test home series against Argentina.
He earned seven caps and selection to his first Rugby World Cup but was unavailable for the end-of-season tour to South America.
Campbell had left Australia for Oxford after the 1987 Rugby World Cup to undertake a Masters of Science but returned to the squad and picked up a single cap in combination with Cutler in the 19-28 loss to England at Twickenham.
Campbell partnered with Cutler in the opening four Tests against the British Lions (3) and New Zealand before neither were available for the tour to Canada and France.
Campbell won his final two caps alongside Rod McCall in the second and third Tests against New Zealand.