Wallabies legend Tim Horan entertained the Cloncurry Cattlemen’s Dinner with tales of his playing days.
Horan was a two times rugby world cup winner in 1991 and 1999 and he remembers it wasn’t a half bad side he played in.
“For those that remember those early days our back line was really well balanced,” Horan said.
“Nick Farr Jones was scrum half, Michael Lynagh was fly half, I was inside centre, Jason Little was outside centre and there was a guy called David Campese who was self centred.”
The crowd erupted with laughter at the last remark but Horan was really a fan of Campo - mostly.
“I think he played 101 test matches for Wallabies, he scored 64 tries – and made two tackles in his career!” he said.
Campo had some unusual habits, according to Horan.
“He was always sat in the front of the bus on his own, when he went into the dressing room he was always the first in on the left hand side, he was always the last man out on the ground and he never faced the haka when we played the All Blacks,” Horan said.
Horan said he was fortunate to play in both the amateur and professional era which began in 1995/96 and there were some big changes in between.
“After we won the world cup in 1991 we took it round all the country areas and Little who grew up in Dalby and I grew up in Toowoomba and we took it around the Darling Downs with a photographer from Brisbane and that was it,” he said.
“We had the world cup in a back pack, we drove the car and the things that happened to that world cup was the reason eight years later we had three security guards and the world cup was locked in a cabinet, we couldn’t get it out.”
Among Horan’s most treasured memories was playing in the UK later in his career under coach Francois Pienaar, who was skipper of the Springboks when they won the world cup in 1995.
Horan said Pienaar told him the story about when president Nelson Mandela arrived by helicopter at the training ground the day before the 1995 final.
“Mandela walked straight across to Pienaar, addressed the team and said ‘you know the importance of the result tomorrow and how it could really unite this country’,” Horan said.
“Pienaar got a Springboks jersey, gave it to Mandela and said jokingly can you please wear this tomorrow.”
The following day Mandela walked into the dressing room wearing the shirt and joined the team in the final prayer.
“Pienaar said there was no way they were going to lose to the All Blacks. The power and awe in that room was incredible,” Horan said.