The Australian rugby community is celebrating the 100th birthday of Eric Tweedale, the oldest living Wallaby.

The Australian rugby community is today celebrating the 100th birthday of Eric Tweedale, the oldest living Wallaby and World War II veteran who also has a remarkable love story to tell.

Tweedale, born in England in 1921, emigrated to Australia in 1924 and started playing rugby as a 15-year-old in Parramatta.

He was engaged to be married to Enid Wagner in 1942 but their courtship – and Tweedale’s highly promising rugby career – was interrupted by World War II.

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Tweedale joined the navy and drifted apart from Wagner during the three years he was serving in the war.

Post-war, the prop won 10 Test caps for the Wallabies between 1946-49 while he and Wagner went on to marry other people.

But remarkably their lives would reconnect in 2004 when Tweedale was asked to do a favour for a friend and meet a widow at Sydney’s Central station and look after her for the day ahead of a social gathering.

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Tweedale shared the story in an interview with Gordon Bray for rugby.com.au ahead of his 99th birthday last year.

“I asked, ‘What’s her name?’ She said, ‘Enid Wagner, do you know her?’ Know her? I almost married her!,” he recalled.

“So we’ve met at the big clock at central station and took on from there.

“I was happily married to Phyllis and Enid had lost her husband earlier. Two years later, I lost Phyllis also, so we just ended up together 64 years after we last saw each other.”

Tweedale toured the United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand with the Wallabies before retiring from the international game in 1949.

He moved to Parkes from where he captained NSW Country against the British Lions and led Central Western against Fiji.

Tweedale was also instrumental in the formation of the Forbes Rugby Club.

Returning to Sydney in 1957, Tweedale resumed his career for Parramatta (123 first grade games) as captain and a year later as captain/coach.

In honour of his contribution and 100th birthday, the Western Sydney Two Blues’ home ground will be renamed Eric Tweedale Stadium.

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That move was commissioned by Cumberland Council and supported by the NSW Government.

“On behalf of the rugby community, I would like to extend our congratulations to Eric on this incredible milestone,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said.

“He has been a terrific ambassador for Australian rugby and his contribution to our game extended well beyond his international playing career.

“Eric is a model example of how our players can positively impact the community.”

Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos also wished Tweedale a happy birthday.

“Eric’s dedication to our game, and his club, is unrivalled and the entirety of the Wallabies family joins me in congratulating him on this milestone,” Marinos said.

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