IRB Hall of Fame
IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.65 – Mark Gordon Ella (Randwick RFC, NSW, Australia), 1959-
One of 11 legends inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in Dublin on 18 November 2013.
Born: 5 June 1959 in Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
International career: 1980-1984
The most successful of the three rugby-playing Ella brothers, the others being his twin brother Glen and the youngest of the three Gary, who graced the rugby fields of Australia and the world during the 1980s. A one-club player he played for Randwick RFC in Sydney. The 21-year old made his international debut in the boiling cauldron of Bledisloe Cup rugby in the first Test of the 1980 series against New Zealand and overnight became a household name. Described by a newspaper as, “the detonator which explodes the brilliance of the Australian backs at critical moment”, he made 26 appearances for NSW and won a total of 25 caps in his brief international career. He captained Australia during the 1982 tour of New Zealand, the first Aboriginal player to captain Australia in any sport, before he prematurely ended his playing career after the 1984 Grand Slam tour of the British Isles, in which he scored a try in each of the four Tests. The journalists had run out of adjectives to describe the inspired options of this mercurial genius: his anticipation, the artistry of his game and the solidity of his defence; indeed, the combination of skills that enabled Mark Ella to perform at stratospheric level, is quite unique and definitely uncanny. He was one of the five original inductees of the Wallaby Rugby Hall of Fame and was voted as one of the four original “Invincibles” of Australian rugby.
A full profile will appear in due course.