Place of Birth: Birmingham
Date of Birth: September 22, 1930
Internationals: 20 caps between 1956 and 1963
Inducted: Inducted November 16, 2002
The England v Australia clash at Twickenham in February 1958 is a game that will be remembered for 14-man England’s courageous performance and for right wing Peter Jackson’s match-winning try. It was not a match for the faint-hearted, although it was a feinting run that sealed victory for the home side.
The man himself has near total recall of that score but he also has other, less pleasant memories. “It was one of those games. One of the Australian centres, a youngster, was a shocker and guilty of late tackling. Today he would have been sent off after the third one.”
Contemporary records report a match where a large numbers of England players were either concussed or injured during a bruising 80 minutes.
Indeed England lost their fly half, Phil Horrocks-Taylor, with ten minutes of the first half remaining. With no replacements allowed in those days, the home side had to struggle on as best they could for the remaining 50 minutes.
“There were no prisoners taken right from the kick-off,” recalled Jackson. “The Australian tackles went in whether you had the ball or not. The referee never did anything about it. But we still pulled off victory by sheer determination.”
Jackson’s induction onto the Rugby Football Union Wall of Fame at Twickenham is a signal honour, one which recognises the contribution made to the game not just by English players but also by players from overseas.
But it is Jackson’s score that is the focal point here. He takes up the story. “There was a perception that I could only step off my right foot, it being stronger than my left,” explains Jackson, who won 20 caps and scored six tries for his country.
“But I was brought up as a fly half at school and our coach, Sergeant Major Bill Moore, used to get me to run up and down the length of the playing field alternately stepping off my right foot and then my left, so in fact, going in to this match I could step off either foot.”
The Australians clearly were not aware of this and consequently Jackson’s opposite number Roderick Phelps covered for the right-footed step.
“So this time I went off my left foot. Phelps did nearly get me but I managed to hand him off.” Jackson then rounded full back Terrence Curley, feinting inside before stepping outside and with Phelps having made a startling recovery at him again, the England wing dived at full stretch and just grounded the ball over the line.
But for Jackson it was not the try that gave him most satisfaction, rather it was the spirited way that 14 men put their bodies on the line to record, against all odds, England’s first post-war victory over a Dominion side.
Article by Dai Llewellyn