Date of Birth: 05th June 2009
Place of Birth: La Perouse
Position: Fly Half
Internationals: 25 caps between 1980 and 1984
Inducted: England v Australia (07/11/09)
Mark Ella, twin of another Wallaby international Glen, and older brother of centre Gary, who, like Glen made just four appearances for Australia, was a relatively raw outside half when he first visited Twickenham in 1982. But Erica Roe would certainly have made his sixth appearance memorable.
He had not begun the tour as the first choice No10, Paul McLean was regarded as being a steadier option, and with a reliable boot, and he appeared against Ireland and Wales, but halfway through the programme coach Bob Templeton opted for the less predictable, more exciting Ella, who faced Scotland and England.
Ella, who captained his country on four occasions, retired from the game prematurely at 25, but in that short time he had established himself as one of the finest fly-halves in the world.
His rugby intellect was MENSA standard, his instincts unmatched by any contemporary. He thrilled crowds with his reading of a game and his ability to draw defenders before unleashing the talented Wallaby backs into the space just created.
In all Ella won 25 caps – many feel it could, and should, have been four times that number – and while his first taste of Twickenham as a full-blown Wallaby ended in defeat, he enjoyed something of a personal triumph on his return to the ground two years later, when he scored a try in Australia’s comprehensive 19-3 victory over England. That Wallaby line-up included two players who were eventually to become legends in their own right, it was Michael Lynagh’s second cap (he played in the centre) and scrum-half Nick Farr-Jones’s debut.
It was on that 1984 tour that Ella became the first player to score a try in each of the four internationals, a personal Grand Slam of sorts, but Ella also enjoys legendary status in the rugby world for some of the wonderful touches he displayed.
He was a flair player, an exciting player, someone who could turn a match in an instant.