Graham Croker
When backrower Ben McCalman entered the fray with 9min 49sec to go in the Tri Nations Test against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on Saturday night, he became Sydney University Football Club’s 90th Wallaby (and 108th Australian representative).
The 22-year-old celebrated Australia’s 30-13 win over the Springboks with Sydney University team-mates, utility back Berrick Barnes, halfback Luke Burgess and second-rower Dean Mumm.
Barnes became the club’s 89th Wallaby when he ran out for the Students against Randwick in a recent Shute Shield encounter.
McCalman, the Western Force Riding Star for 2010, is a product of Kinross Wolaroi School at Orange. He earned Australian Schools selection in 2005 and 2006 before enrolling at Sydney University, where he was a member of the Colts I premiership side in 2007 and the Australian Under 19s.
Although a specialist backrower, McCalman played most of the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the second-row for Sydney University First XV as the Students marched through to their fourth and fifth successive premierships. During the 2009 season he also represented Australian in the IRB Sevens Adelaide tournament.
The tough grind of the Sydney competition was great grounding for the tough-as-teak boy from the back-blocks of Warren. Along with Pat McCutcheon, he was one of the stand-out forwards in the Shute Shield ranks and earned a Super 14 contract with the Western Force, who valued his versatility in the scrum and lineout and his no-nonsense approach in attack and defence.
At 105kg and standing 192cm, McCalman improved with each of his Super 14 appearances for the Force during 2010, culminating in selection for the Australian Barbarians against the touring England side in June.
He has now topped that with Wallaby status.
Meanwhile, two members of Sydney University Women’s Rugby Club have been selected in the Australian side to contest the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England in August.
Sydney University’s Alex Hargreaves and Ashleigh Hewson have been included in the 26-woman squad.
“I’m always happy to play for my country,” Hargreaves said. “In 2009, I was part of the Australian team that won the inaugural women’s Sevens World Cup in Dubai.
“It would be really good if we could win the double header and also win the women’s Rugby World Cup. But we do have New Zealand in our draw, so it will be interesting to see how we go against the number one team in the world.”