Super Rugby


QRU Match No. 024 - Colonial Queensland joins the Circus

Queenslanders are Remembering

QRU Match No. 024 - August 22, 1891

The Wirth Bros. Circus had positioned itself to join the roaring popularity of Rugby Union by pitching their big-top near the Exhibition Ground's Grandstand entrance at Bowen Hills in the weeks before the highly-anticipated second intercolonial clash of the 1891 season, against New South Wales. 1-in-10 of Brisbane's 50,000 population attended the August 22 Circus-Rugby combination.

Wirth Bros. Circus Elephants unload at Roma St. 1905

"A 62-year-old silver shield, presented for inter-colonial Rugby Union Competition has been unearthed in a Brisbane hotel and will be presented back to the Q.R.U. for re-allocation as a trophy." (Brisbane Telegraph, Wednesday 18 February 1953, page 34)

The renowned family circus, which boasted lions, baboons, "The Prince of Clowns" and the first hippopotamus most Australians had seen, presented Queensland Captain, Representative Number 74 Harry Speakman with this ornate shield, centre-stage under the big-top after Queensland defeated New South Wales 11-0 to decisively claim the intercolonial season.

Queensland team that faced New South Wales - August 22, 1891

Jersey No. QRU No. Name
1 99 Sid Stevens
2 65 William 'Bill' Eason
3 95 George Counsell
4 78 George 'Goondi' Hensler
5 93 Glen Beal
6 89 Arthur Scott
7 77 John Hadwen
8 96 A 'Doug' Graham
9 84 George Beal
10 94 William Beattie
11 97 Jack 'Yorkie' O'Shea
12 74 Harry Speakman
13 98 Harry Scarr
14 29 George Pratten
15 100 William 'Bill' Warbrick
Reserve 90 George Brereton


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