profile Matt Burke
Date of Birth: 26th March 1973.
State: New South Wales.
State Caps: 97.
Super 12 Caps: 63.
Test debut: v South Africa, 1993.
Test Caps: 63.
Test Points: 790.
Matt Burke has kicked Australia to victory many times in his Test career, but after landing an injury time penalty to win the Bledisloe Cup at Stadium Australia earlier this year he became a true national hero.
One of the greatest full backs of all time, Burke is now menacing opponents from midfield for both the Wallabies and the Waratahs. The move to outside centre was initially designed to facilitate the arrival of Rugby League convert Mat Rogers and while the move certainly worked in that regard it also gave Burke a new lease on life at the ripe old age of 29.
This season, during his second term as captain of NSW, he became the most capped Waratah of all time and next season he’ll become the first new South Welshman to play 100 games for his state.
Wallaby selectors recognised the value of his leadership and they retained him as vice-captain for theis season.
His long career at representative rugby began in 1990 when he toured the UK and Ireland with the Australian Schoolboy side. On that tour the Aussies beat Ireland Schools 13-9 in Thomond Park, an Ireland side that included current Ireland number 8 Anthony Foley. Burke then graduated to the Australian U21s in 1992 and ’93 and also played in the Hong Kong Sevens (’92) and World Cup Sevens (’93).
The inevitable call up to the senior squad duly arrived and he won his first cap in the third Test against the Spingboks in 1993.
In 1998 he scored all of the 24 points for the Wallabies against the All Blacks and a year later he scored 23 points against the Blacks at Stadium Australia, 24 points against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup semi-final and 25 points against France.
Matt Burke is Australia’s most capped full-back having played 51 of his 65 tests in that position