Australian rugby mourns John Hipwell
September 24, 2013
John Hipwell back in 1975 © Getty Images
Australian rugby is mourning the passing of ex-Wallabies captain John Hipwell who has died aged 65.
Hipwell passed away suddenly on Monday with reports in the Australian press saying the former scrum-half died of a heart attack. Hipwell won 36 caps for the Wallabies and captained them in nine Tests. He made his debut for New South Wales Country in 1966 against the touring Lions side and made his Test bow in 1968 aged 20.
He started his tenure as Wallabies captain in 1973 against England and he called time on his career in 1981 aged 33. He was inducted to Australian Rugby Union's hall of fame in 2006 and is survived by his wife and two daughters.
His old team-mate Geoff Shaw paid tribute to him, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: "He was one of the great captains. I remember making the speeches after [the games he captained the Wallabies] and saying, 'I'm only here because the real captain is sitting down there. And he will always be my captain.
"He was a very good leader. He was very astute at the game. He knew when to get up people, and when not to get up at them. He had this great ability to pull people together … a great sense of humour, was always laughing. He was a bit of a practical joker. He was one of the genuine leaders that only come along now and then."
Former Wallabies captain Simon Poidevin added: "When I toured in 1981-82 with the Wallabies, John took me under the wing. I was a 21 or 22 year-old back then and he was an absolute legend of his time. It was an absolute privilege to have someone of his quality standards and personality to help you out on your first big tour."
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