William Alexander Douglas

  • 1Caps
  • 188Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthMarch 16, 1895
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolHawkesbury Agricultural School
Debut ClubEastern Suburbs (Sydney)
Debut Test Match1922 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Sydney
DiedMay 4, 1965
Service Number6611


Bill ‘Tiny’ Douglas was better known in the lifesaving world than the rugby one, as he was captain of the Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club in the early 1920s and played rugby as a winter interest rather than as his primary sport. He had just over half a game in international rugby but it was a memorable occasion, as New South Wales won this game, the rubber match of the 1922 All Black series, to claim a 2-1 victory and defeat the New Zealanders for the first time. Douglas, who was a giant in his day and one of the biggest forwards in Sydney rugby at the time, was one of several locks in a queue behind’ Watty’ Friend and Bond Bonnor in the early 1920s.

Reg Ferguson, who started the season as the number three, had been injured in the first match of the series and Douglas was given the bench role after a strong performance for Metropolitan Union against the tourists. He came into the Test just before halftime when Bonnor left the field and the score was 8-6 to the home side. From that point on a fierce forward battle raged, with the All Blacks desperate to preserve their record of never having lost a series to anyone but the home forwards gave one of their best exhibitions of the era in holding a bigger and very aggressive touring team at bay.

After a titanic 40 minutes there had been no further scoring and the home side secured the series. Douglas played twice more against All Black teams after this match but never again for the full State team. He represented the state Second XV in the match immediately following the Test and was part of a team that copped a revenge performance from the tourists who won 56-19, while he was a member of the Metropolitan Union team that played in 1924. However, his brush with big rugby was fleeting and his Test career was restricted to that memorable 40 minutes in 1922.

William Alexander Douglas