The Australian Rugby community is in mourning after the passing of 10-test Wallaby John William Terence MacBride.
Terry MacBride was a youthful three-quarter who shot to prominence as Test rugby resumed after World War II. Compact, sturdy of build and difficult to pull down, MacBride’s preferred position was inside centre although eight of his ten Test caps were played on the wing. In both positions he was fast off the mark and particularly direct.
Born in Sydney, MacBride was educated at The Scots College where he played two years in both the 1st XV and the Combined GPS (1944-1945). He also won the Blackwood Cup for Study and Sport (the College’s highest accolade for an allrounder), was a more than handy cricketer (Vice-Captain of the undefeated 1st XI premiers in 1945) and earned colours for athletics. After school he enrolled in Medicine at the University of Sydney.
His early performances in the 1946 season earned him selection for the New South Wales tour to Queensland however MacBride advised that he was not available. The selectors held such a high opinion of MacBride that they requested he play in the NSW 1 v. NSW 2 match in order to gain representative level match experience. Incredibly three 19-year-old centres – MacBride, Trevor Allan and Max Howell – were chosen for the impending Wallaby tour to New Zealand. Even then MacBride was undecided on whether to make the trip in view of the fact that he would miss six weeks of his first year studies.
It was said that MacBride was ‘the early find of the tour’ as his ‘attacking ability reached brilliant heights’ particularly in the uncapped match against Hawkes Bay-Poverty Bay. With four tries in five games it was no surprise when MacBride was named to play in the first Test at Dunedin. Eddie Kann wrote that MacBride ‘was the most outstanding back, and was always dangerous on attack, showing up the error which had been made in playing him out of position on the wing.’ His performances on that tour saw him feted by New Zealand experts who said: ‘when he perfects his defence he may be the greatest inside centre produced by Australia.’
The trip to New Zealand cost MacBride a pass in first-year Medicine so he walked away from the course and the rugby club to link up with Eastern Suburbs. Two caps at home against New Zealand were followed by selection on the Third Wallabies tour to the U.K. and Europe. Upon his return to Australia MacBride looked set to retire after he tore his right thigh muscle. He recovered to play out the season with Easts but formally retired from the game a year later due to his business commitments.
Terry MacBride played 10 Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
With specialist wingers Jack McLean (dislocated shoulder) and Jim Stone (pulled leg muscle) out injured, MacBride won his first Test cap at right wing in the 1st Test, 8-31 loss to New Zealand at Carisbrook. Unfortunately he was left dazed by a nasty kick to his nose. The All Blacks exploited that weakness in defence and played to MacBride’s wing which enabled Wally Argus to score two splendid tries. He retained his spot on the wing for the 0-20 loss to the Maori in Hamilton but was shifted into the centres alongside Trevor Allan for the 2nd Test, 10-14 loss at Eden Park. MacBride scored his first Test try in the narrow defeat and ‘made many incisive runs’.
MacBride was capped in both home losses to New Zealand, the first on the right wing in Brisbane and the second at inside centre in combination with Max Howell at the S.C.G.
Following Charlie Eastes’ tour ending injury against Newport, MacBride started on the left wing and Arthur Tonkin on the right in each of the five tests of the Third Wallabies tour.
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