RIP: Wallabies legend dies
NEWS: The Australian rugby community is mourning the loss of 11-Test Wallaby James “Jim” Phipps, who has died aged 89.
A superb centre who dominated the Australian midfield in the mid-1950s, Phipps was a strong utility back and an impenetrable defender.
Born in Indonesia, Phipps and his family relocated to Sydney at the start of WWII. He and his three brothers attended Barker College and undertook their apprenticeship in rugby.
A standout schoolboy athlete, Phipps excelled in both athletics and swimming, and was awarded school colours in 1948 and 1949 for both sports.
A powerful competitor, the outside back also played in the college’s First XV for three consecutive seasons between 1947 and 1949, where he was awarded with representative selection in his final year.
Following the completion of high school, Phipps attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College, where he was approached by representatives of the Gordon Rugby Club to train with their senior side.
He accepted the offer, trained with first grade and played in the grand final alongside then-Australian captain Trevor Allan in his first game for the club.
In 1952, Phipps was chosen for the City of Sydney against the touring Fijians and then found himself as a reserve back for both NSW and Australia.
Later that season, Phipps went on his first Wallaby tour to New Zealand, where he played six non-Test matches.
The following year, he toured South Africa and was named to make his Test debut in Johannesburg.
From that debut, Phipps played in 11 consecutive Tests through to the end of the home series against the Springboks in 1956.
On his return to Australia in 1957 following an injury-afflicted tour, he retired from both representative and club rugby.
But he kept a high profile as a coach, referee and club administrator.
Phipps is survived by wife Gillian, daughter Debbie, son David and grandchildren Daniel, Charles, Lon and Ella.