William Ian 'Lou' Hatherell
- 390Wallaby Number
‘Lou’ Hatherell was tough, rangy front-row forward from the Darling Downs who played Test match rugby aged just 21 before he chose to retire and concentrate on his career as a dentist.
Born in Toowoomba, Hatherell attended Toowoomba Grammar School where his father Bill, a prominent referee of the time, was also football master. In 1948 the TGS 1st XV, coached by Bill, captained by ‘Lou’ and which included fellow future internationals Ian McMillan and Ray Colbert, captured the GPS title as undefeated premiers. ‘Lou’ won the prestigious Telegraph GPS rugby award for his able leadership and was described as ‘a brilliant front row forward, [who] excels in lineouts and is a tiger in defence.’
Following his graduation Hatherell enrolled at the University of Queensland to study dentistry, was quickly drafted into the UQ First Grade side and then traveled to Adelaide to play in the 1949 Australian Universities Rugby Carnival.Two years later Hatherell was selected in his first intercity match, for the Brisbane XV, against Toowoomba and the following season he was invited to the State selection trials. A strong performance for ‘The Rest’ in those trials saw him earn a senior representative debut for Queensland against Fiji. Hatherell’s meteoric rise continued a week later when he he faced the tourists on debut in the one-off Test at the S.C.G. Following the match the ARU decided a second Test against the money-spinning Fijians was to be played two weeks later, the day before the team departed on a tour to New Zealand. Given Hatherell had already declared himself unavailable for the tour due to his study commitments the selectors agreed to bring in Jack Baxter as his replacement. Despite that agreement Hatherell, not Baxter, was surprisingly named to face the tourists and he was forced to quickly negotiate with University officials in order to win approval for a return to Sydney.
In 1953, Hatherell announced he was unavailable for Queensland, as well as the tour to South Africa, in order to concentrate on the final year of his studies. Nonetheless, Hatherell did play a second and final representative match for his state against the Wallabies when the team returned from the republic.
‘Lou’ Hatherell played two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Hatherell won his first Test cap in the front-row alongside Nev Cottrell and fellow debutant Bob Davidson in the 15-9, 1st Test victory in Sydney. He held his spot two weeks later in the 15-17, 2nd Test loss played in front of 42,000 fans - the largest attendance for a home international in 45 years.