The incredible survival story of Wallaby and war hero Cecil Ramalli

There’s been no shortage of tough, resilient scrum-halves to have graced Sydney’s many rugby pitches over the years but, arguably, the toughest and most resilient of them all was Cecil Ramalli (bottom row, second from right).  Born in Mungindi on the NSW-QLD border to an Indian father and an Aboriginal mother, Ramalli played for Hurlstone Agricultural High School’s First XV as a 15-year-old in 1938. He made his first grade debut for Western Suburbs that same year and quickly caught the attention of NSW and Australian selectors.  The pint-sized No.9 was quick and nippy with a brilliant pass, and became the first player of both Indigenous descent and Asian descent, to play for the Wallabies when he was picked to play the All Blacks, not long after his 19th birthday.  Ramalli had an immediate impact on debut in Brisbane and the All Blacks soon realised they needed to find a way to slow him down. He played the second half that day with a broken nose and two black eyes but
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