Former Wallaby Anthony Abrahams, one of the main instigators of a player-led boycott of a South African Rugby tour at the height of apartheid is one of four members of the Australian Rugby community to receive 2020 Australia Day Honours.

Now 75 and residing in Bellevue Hill, Sydney, ‘Tony’ Abrahams was a towering lock who played three Tests for the Wallabies between 1967-69. The University of Sydney Arts/Law graduate made his Test debut against Wales in 1967 before departing on the Wallaby Tour to South Africa, little realising that he would not return home for 25 years.

Abrahams became concerned about the morality of touring South Africa while the apartheid regime remained in place, and decided to tour the country himself, and then further into southern Africa as he became increasingly concerned at the political landscape on the continent.

By 1970 he had moved to France, but, when the South African team was due to tour Australia in 1971, he and six other Wallabies players launched a campaign to prevent the Springboks from touring.

The players, who faced heavy backlash for boycotting the tour, years later would be honoured with the Medal of Freedom by South African President, Nelson Mandela for their courage in standing up against apartheid. That group became known as Rugby’s ‘Magnificent Seven’.

Abrahams received Membership in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Law, while three other members of the Rugby family received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to their communities. Continue reading >