William Scott Ross

  • 13Caps
  • 603Wallaby Number
  • 65Age
PositionHooker
Date Of Birth27 November 1956
Place Of BirthBrisbane
SchoolBrisbane Grammar School
Other ClubsOxford University
ProvinceQLD
Debut Test Match1979 Wallabies v Ireland, 1st Test Brisbane
Final Test Match1983 Wallabies v New Zealand, Sydney

Biography

Bill Ross was a skilful, all-round hooker with good hands, an accurate one-arm end-over-end lineout throw. Above all else he was considered to be a brilliant striker for the ball.

Born and raised in Queensland, Ross was educated at Brisbane Grammar and from there represented Australian Schools on their 1973/74 tour of the U.K. alongside fellow future Wallabies Mick Mathers, Tom Barker, Ken Wright and Phil Crowe. His ascension to senior representative rugby was quite rapid and in 1976 he made his Queensland debut against New England and later that season he opposed Wallaby hooker Chris Carberry when the Maroons crushed New South Wales 42-4.

Ross then had to contend with the arrival in Brisbane of not one Wallaby hooker but two when Peter Horton took up a teaching position at Brisbane Boys’ College and Carberry also moved to Queensland. Ross’ breakthrough year came in 1979 when he won his first Test cap against Ireland at Ballymore. He then won a spot on the Wallaby tour to Argentina and enjoyed one of his finest moments in an Australian jersey. Argentina had comfortably won the opening Test and Ross came in to replace Horton for the second international a week later. With less than five minutes on the clock Australia clung to a narrow lead. A scrum was set right in front of the Australian posts however it was an Argentine feed. Everyone at the ground knew that Hugo Porta was lining up for another dropped goal. Ross, in a remarkable display of hooking skill, won the ball against the head, Australia cleared and then went on to win the Test.

One other memorable Test was the third of the 1980 Bledisloe Cup series when the rookie Wallaby front row of Ross, Tony D’Arcy and debutant Declan Curran held their own against the experienced Gary Knight, Hika Reid and John Ashworth. Australia won 26-10 to record our first successful defence of the Bledisloe Cup and our first home series win over New Zealand since 1934.

Ross then left Australia for Oxford University where he won a rugby Blue. He returned in 1982 before he was one of nine Queenslanders to make themselves unavailable for the Wallaby tour to New Zealand.

Bill Ross played 13 Tests for Australia in a five-year international career.

Highlights

1973/74

Represented Australian Schools on their tour of the U.K.

1977

Represented Australia at the Hong Kong 7s.

1979

Ross won his first Test cap propped by Stan Pilecki and John Meadows in the 1st Test, 12-27 loss to Ireland in Brisbane. Two weeks later he retained his spot for the 2nd Test, 3-9 loss in Sydney. Peter Horton was chosen at No.2 for the one-off Bledisloe Cup Test and the 1st Test against Argentina but Ross was recalled for 2nd Test, 17-12 victory in Buenos Aires.

1980

Ross started all four Wallaby tests at hooker, one with Pilecki and Tony D’Arcy, two with Pilecki and Chris Handy and one with D’Arcy and Declan Curran.

1981

Ross was unavailable for selection after the took up an offer to study and play rugby at Oxford University.

1982

He returned to Australia and picked up two caps in each of the Tests against Scotland, both propped by Pilecki and D’Arcy. Ross, eight Queenslanders and New South Wales flanker Gary Pearse made themselves unavailable for the tour to New Zealand due to financial reasons.

1983

Ross won his final four caps against the U.S.A. (1), Argentina (2) and New Zealand (1).

William Scott Ross