If Jack Maddocks takes the field in tomorrow night's Bledisloe Cup match, he will win his first Wallaby cap and carry on a long tradition of Sydney University cricketers turning out in Australian colours.
In recent times, the increased professionalism in sport, and the greater need for specialisation, has made it rare for sportsmen to compete in two sports at a high level. Jack Maddocks' cricket ended when he signed a professional contract with the Melbourne Rebels, but not before he made his First Grade debut for University as a middle-order batsman.
Now he's about to become the club's first Wallaby since Bob Egerton, the brilliant winger/fullback who won nine caps in 1991, the last of them as a member of the side that won the World Cup final at Twickenham. Once an ACT Under-19 cricketer, Egerton never played a full season of cricket for University, but often turned out to fill vacancies in the lower grades.
Before Egerton, Wallaby centre Michael Hawker played for the club in 1979-80, as a wicket-keeper batsman in the lower grades and in the Poidevin-Gray side. He represented Australia 25 times between 1980 and 1987.
In earlier times, when there was a clear demarcation between seasons and Rugby Union was strictly an amateur game, it was far more common for sportsmen to excel at two games. Dr Saxon White opened the batting in University's 1956-57 First Grade semi-final team, and played for Australia as a centre seven times between 1956 and 1958, touring the British Isles in 1957-58. Legendary loose forward (and later Wallaby coach) Dave Brockhoff played as a lower-grade batsman in 1947-48 and 1948-49; Neville Emery, who hit a First Grade century for University in 1948-49, won 10 Wallaby caps as a fly-half; and occasional First Grade wicket-keeper Hugh Taylor played 4 Tests in the 1920s. Dr Alec Ross, who scored a double-century in First Grade for University, was considered the finest full back of his era and played 20 Rugby Tests between 1925 and 1934.
Only two men have represented Australia in both cricket and Rugby Union Tests, and both were Sydney University players. Johnny Taylor played 20 cricket Tests between 1920 and 1926, and two Rugby Tests in 1922; Dr Otto Nothling played 19 Rugby Tests between 1921 and 1924 and played a single cricket Test, as an all-rounder, in 1928-29. Another outstanding University sportsman, Jack Massie, was picked for the 1913 Wallaby tour to New Zealand but withdrew because of exams, and was chosen on the 1914-15 cricket tour to South Africa, which was cancelled due to the outbreak of war - so he was selected for Australia in both games but actually played in neither.
Finally, let's hope that Jack Maddocks avoids the fate of Norman Lamport, the Sydney University middle-order batsman and scrum-half, who was named on the Wallaby bench for Tests against New Zealand in 1929 but never made it onto the field.