ARU unveil 2011 Wallabies Statesmen
July 14, 2011
Wallabies Elton Flatley (l), Tim Gavin (c) and Simon Poidevin (r) at the unveiling of the 2011 ARU Classic Wallabies Statesmen © Getty Images
The Australian Rugby Union have announced the seven former internationals who will serve as the 2011 Classic Wallabies Statesmen.
The chosen seven, one from each decade since the Second World War, will each carry out various roles throughout the year including pre-Test jersey presentations to the current crop of Wallabies, addressing club and schoolboy players and representing the other statesmen. The chosen statesmen for 2011 are: Eric Tweedle (1946-1949), Terry Curley (1957-58), Rob Heming (1961-1967), Geoff Shaw (1969-1979), Simon Poidevin (1980-1991), Tim Gavin (1988-1996) and Elton Flatley (1996-2005).
Both Shaw and Poidevin have captained their country with Poidevin representing the Wallabies at the victorious 1991 World Cup. Flatley nearly kicked Australia to victory in the 2003 World Cup but the Wallabies were undone by the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.
The scheme has run since 2008 with the inaugural group being Sir Nicholas Shehadie, Dr John Solomon, Ken Catchpole, Mark Loane, Andrew Slack, Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales. They were replaced by the 2009 vintage of Arthur Buchanan, John Thornett, Jim Lenehan, John Hipwell, Mark Ella, Tim Horan and Matthew Burke while the 2010 selection were David Brockhoff, Peter Johnson, John Brass, Greg Cornelsen, Roger Gould, Jason Little and David Wilson.
John O'Neill, ARU managing director and CEO, lauded the current crop of statesmen and referred to them as "touchstones to a wonderful and diverse history. "We must never forget our past and the wonderful men who have contributed so much," O'Neill said. "We want the Rugby culture to remain strong and vibrant, and we want our past heroes as well as our current stars to help us carry those traditions forward.
"Our statesmen are touchstones to a wonderful and diverse history. This is a rugby nation that has won two World Cups, hosted another, is about to embark on the challenging journey of securing a record third William Webb Ellis cup and all of this is underlined by a compelling Test history that stretches all the way back to 1899.
"So as we continue to build our game and look forward to more success in the future we must never forget our past and we have to embrace our history and the men who helped create it."
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