Bill McLean

Bill McLean

Rugby Biography
Rugby Biography Less

Bill McLean

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William Malcolm McLean (born 28 Feb 1918, in Ipswich, Queensland) was an Australian soldier and a state and national representative rugby union player who captained the Wallabies in five Test matches immediately after World War II.

Pre-war rugby

Like their father, Doug McLean, Snr., Bill's older brother Doug McLean jnr had represented for Australia in both rugby codes before Bill left school. Bill too was a promising sportsman - goalkeeper in the 1938 Queensland Water Polo Team and rowing in Surf Boat crews winning the Queensland state championship in 1938. Bill also pursued a rugby career and in 1938 played with "Jeeps" in Brisbane and made his representative debut with state selection the following year. From there he was selected for the ill fated 1939 Wallaby tour to England captained by Vay Wilson. The team docked at Southampton on the day when England declared war and after a couple of weeks spent filling sandbags to start the war effort, the squad set sail for Australia having not played a game. Of the unlucky tourists only McLean, Keith Windon and Len Smith would return to footballing success after the war.

Military service

McLean enlisted in the AIF in July 1940. He was a Captain in the 2/3rd Australian Commando Squadron and saw action against the Japanese in Borneo after parachuting in behind enemy lines. He was discharged in February 1946.

Post-war rugby

After the war McLean was selected in and captained an Australia XV...
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