Wallaby great made his mark against All Blacks

Solomon

Solomon, 90, who made his senior club debut a year earlier for the Sydney University side, made his Test debut against the Maori All Blacks at Sydney in the third Test of their 1949 series playing on the wing.

 

He then toured New Zealand with Australia Universities in 1949. No sooner was he back from that tour than he was selected to return across the Tasman for a 10-match tour that included two Tests.

 

Solomon played in the second Test, at Eden Park, on the wing, scoring a try in Australia's 16-9 win which secured the Bledisloe Cup.

 

He moved into the midfield for the two lost Tests against the British & Irish Lions who had just completed their New Zealand tour in 1950.

 

When New Zealand toured Australia in 1951, their bid to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup started with an 8-0 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground which was a bog. A fortnight later in the second Test, New Zealand regained the Cup with a 17-11 win, also at the SCG.

 

Solomon, pictured with All Blacks captain Kevin Skinner, was appointed captain for the 1952 series against Fiji, shared 1-1 before Australia headed back across the Tasman to stun the All Blacks by winning the first Test at Lancaster Park 14-9, with Solomon kicking a dropped goal.

 

New Zealand won the second Test, at Athletic Park, 15-8, a game famous for the non-try scored by All Blacks wing Ron Jarden. After impressive build-up work by the All Blacks, Jarden crossed the line to score. But referee James Frood, from Otago, had fallen over and hadn't seen the touchdown so ruled it out.

 

But it was a year later that Solomon was to achieve one of the great feats in Australian rugby. He captained the side to South Africa and after a 3-25 hammering in the first Test, the Australians turned it around to beat South Africa 18-14, the first time they had lost in 15 years.

 

Solomon suffered a bad injury in the second half and he returned after treatment on the sideline to play as a third centre. But four minutes from time, 12m out from his goalline he received the ball, made ground and then passed to Eddie Stapleton on the wing. Stapleton linked with fellow wing Garth Jones, who with sheer speed, beat two defenders to run 50m to score the match-winning try.

 

In a rare show of respect, Springboks Chris Koch and Ernst Dinkelmann carried Solomon off Newlands on their shoulders after the game.

 

South Africa struck back to take the third Test 18-8 and the fourth 22-9.

 

After a break to study medicine, he returned to Test rugby in 1955, leading the side back to New Zealand. After captaining them in the first Test loss at Athletic Park 8-16, he suffered a shoulder injury and after illness prevented him returning in 1956, he did not play Test rugby again.

 

He played 14 Tests, captaining Australia in eight of them and was inducted into Australia's Rugby Hall of Fame in 2016.

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