We are sad to inform the SUFC community of the passing of our oldest living Wallaby, Norman 'Mac' Hughes (#398), aged 88.
Born in Albury in 1932, Hughes was introduced to Rugby during his time at Sydney’s Mosman Preparatory, before going onto play at Shore School, where future Wallaby mentor Bryan Palmer coached him.
Commencing his Rugby career in the backline, the menacing Hughesshifted to the back of the scrum for his two seasons in Shore Schools’ 1st XV between 1949-50. Hughes continued in the position at the University of Technology before moving to the Sydney University in 1952.
Hughes played for the Students till 1956, where he Captained 1st Grade for two seasons, including winning the Inter Varsities competition in 1956. Hughes was awarded his Rugby Blue from the University of Sydney in 1955.
In 1954 he was selected for NSW where he played 9 games. He became SUFC’s 137th Waratah. Hughes also represented and captained the Australian Universities side in 1954.
Hughes international career took off when he caught the eye of Wallabies selectors in 1953 and was one of the bolters named for that year’s tour to South Africa.
Hughes made his debut as part of a shocking back-row combination in the opening Test in Johannesburg, he became SUFC’s 48th Wallaby. Later starting in all four Tests of the series, forming a powerful loose forward trio with Keith Cross and Brian Johnson.
In Cape Town, a Hughes win at the back of the lineout proved crucial in Garth Jones’ match-winning try and an Australian victory that dealt the Springboks their first loss since 1938.
Hughes was again selected to tour in 1955 when the Wallabies took to New Zealand, starring in all three tests and scoring his inaugural Test try during the Wallabies 8-3 victory at Eden Park.
Selected again in 1956 for South Africa’s Tour of Australia, Hughes started at the back of the scrum before going on his final Wallabies tour in 1957. Here, he was capped in all five matches packing down against Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
Once is international career came to an end he moved to the UK and played for Blackheath Rugby Club, the oldest Rugby club in the world.
SUFC sends our condolences to the Hughes family at this sad time.
We will communicate the details of his service when they are available.