Joe Roff was a key part of one of Australia’s most successful periods in rugby union. Learn more about him and his fascinating career here with RugbyPass.
Despite retiring from domestic and international rugby union aged just 29, Joe Roff was a major part of one of Australia’s most successful periods in the game. He is also one of just a handful of Australians to have played in the Varsity game between Oxford and Cambridge University. Joe Roff was inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame in 2021.
Born in Heathcote, Victoria in September 1975, Joe Roff began playing rugby union at an early age and during his college years played for the Australian Schoolboys in 1992 and 1993. At amateur level he honed his abilities with Canberra side Tuggeranong Vikings and his impressive performances playing on the wing or as a fullback were then enough to get him noticed and earn him a contract with Brumbies (ACT Brumbies at the time).
Joe Roff spent 10 seasons with the side – which included a brief stint with Biarritz – playing in what was the Super 12. He also currently holds a number of records including the most tries scored (57) and the most tries in one season (15). With Brumbies, Roff also helped them to titles in 2001 and 2004 as well as three runner-up positions. On a personal level, he also gained the ‘Super Rugby Player of the Year’ award in 1999 and 2003 – to name just a few of his professional career accolades.
Although he retired from domestic and international rugby in 2004, he did then play one season for Japanese side Kubota Spears in 2005-06.
Joe Roff’s senior international debut and first try came in 1995 against Canada in the Rugby World Cup. Following this he was a regular starter for the Wallabies and quickly became a fan favourite, featuring in the 1999 Rugby World Cup win, as well as wins in 2000 and 2001 in what was the Tri Nations. Another notable achievement was Joe Roff’s importance in Australia’s eventual series victory in the British & Irish Lions tour of 2001. He earned his final cap in 2004, his 86th in total for the national team.
Following his retirement from the sport Joe Roff turned to academia, earning a place at Oxford University where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He of course featured for the university’s amateur rugby team and captained the team in 2006 and 2007 in each year’s respective Varsity game between Oxford and rivals Cambridge.
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