2007 Inductee: John Eales
IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No 6 - John Anthony Eales AM, Australia
- Born: 27 June 1970 in Brisbane, Australia.
- Family - Parents Jack and Rosa; had four sisters and one brother (the oldest boy but the third born child). Married to Lara. Children - Elijah (son), Sophia, Lily and Eva.
- Education - Marist Brothers College, Ashgrove, Brisbane. BA degree with a double major in psychology at the University of Queensland in 1991.
- Other sports - Golf and cricket (he played alongside test cricketer Matthew Hayden at College). An all-round cricketer he played first grade for the University of Queensland in the Queensland Cricket Association competition.
- Nicknames – Ealesy, Parra, Nobody (The latter, though innocuous, is not his favourite and relates to the saying “Nobody’s perfect”).
- Awards - He won the Rothmans Medal Best-and-Fairest award in Brisbane club rugby in 1990; Australian Player of the Year 1995; He was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the community and rugby in 1999; Inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2007.
- A successful businessman he was a founder of the Mettle Group - a business consultancy.
- He owns his personal company “JohnEales5” which is now part of ‘International Quarterback’ - a sports marketing and events conglomerate.
- He is also a director of QM Technologies, Director SAHOF (Sport Australia Hall of Fame) and a Financial Review columnist.
- He acts as a consultant for BT Financial Group and Qantas.
- He was a VISA "Rugby Ambassador" at the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, which involved a number of media duties.
- Position - lock forward, towering 6ft 7ins.
- Began playing mini-rugby (Under 8s) for Ashgrove Emus in Brisbane, Ashgrove School, Brothers Club; Queensland Reds; Australia Under 21s; Emerging Wallabies; Australia; Barbarians.
- He represented Queensland in 112 games, one of only 21 players to have represented the Queensland Reds in more than 100 representative games.
- International debut - 22 July 1991 v Wales at Brisbane, aged 21 years 25 days.
- Last test - 1 September 2001 v New Zealand at Sydney, aged 31 years 65 days.
- Total number of matches for Australia – 97 (of which 86 tests).
John Eales leads Australia out against South Africa in 2001
- He scored a total of 402 points in the Super 12 competition with six tries, 66 conversions and 80 penalties for the Queensland Reds - the highest points scoring forward in Super 12 history.
- The most capped Australian forward (86 tests) of which 55 as captain.
- He was arguably the most successful captain in the history of Australian rugby with 40 wins, two draws and 13 losses.
- Test record: played 86; won 65, draws two, defeats 19. During his six tours he also played 11 non-test matches, 10 against provincial/regional/selection sides and one against the Barbarians, won nine, lost two and scored 19 points (two tries, three conversions and one penalty).
- He retired as the most-capped lock in test history – 84 (has since been overtaken by Fabien Pelous and Scott Murray).
- He played twice at number 8.
- He is highest-scoring forward in test history and one of only three forwards to surpass 100 test points - 173 points (2 tries, 31 cons, 34 pens).
- The 1992 Australia tour of South Africa.
- The 1992 Australia tour of Ireland/Wales.
- The 1996 Australia tour of UK (captain).
- The 1997 Australia tour of Argentina/UK (captain).
- The 1998 Australia tour of France/England (captain).
- The 2000 Australia tour of France/Scotland/England (captain).
- Before being capped within a seven-day period, he played in Queensland sides that defeated both Wales and England. After being capped he played in a Queensland winning side against Ireland and drew with Scotland.
- All his family – father, mother brother, sisters and wife – were in Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium to watch him leading Australia to Rugby World Cup success in 1999.
- He played in three World Cups, 1991, 1995 and 1999.
- Double world champion having played in both the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cup wins, skippering his country in 1999.
- In his last test in Sydney before 91,000 spectators, his shrewd leadership led Australia to a 29-26 win against New Zealand. After the match he delivered an emotional farewell address, but the last word went to ARU President Peter Crittle, who simply said: "Thank you, John Eales."
- He was not only a great ball player and outstanding lineout expert, but also a formidable kicker of the ball and his exploits have entered legend. His memorable kicks include a sideline penalty goal in the final minutes of a 2000 test to win the Bledisloe Cup against New Zealand.
- Born to lead, his unassuming yet effective leadership style has earned him the loyalty of his teamates and the respect of the opponents.
- Only Will Carling and George Gregan have captained their country in more games than him.
- Twice in his life he had to overcome career-threatening shoulder injuries to return to the Game and international rugby.
- He wrote a book - 'Learning From Legends' - with a foreword by the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
- He gave his name to the John Eales Medal, annually awarded to the best Australian rugby union player.
What he said
- After a drop goal from halfway for Brothers versus Teachers-Norths, he said: "Nobody would have said anything if I had scored a try and that's worth more points."
- "It's a great feeling holding the Bledisloe Cup or the World Cup, but the greatest joy you can have in your life is to be at the birth of your own child."
- His grandmother Nonna died aged 96 in 2000. Eales, a Catholic, said: "She never watched a game, she was too nervous, but I bet she's been watching from Heaven.”
- “Queensland coach John Connolly saw me first and gave me the opportunity to play at provincial level, though I was very young. Then Bob Dwyer selected me for the Wallabies. Bob, for whom I always had a great affinity, used to say “if you are good enough, you are old enough”. When we won the first Rugby World Cup, I was only 21 and I felt really fortunate to be there among those great players. I was pinching myself, feeling that all my mates were watching me.”
- “Winning the first Bledisloe Cup was just another extraordinary moment in my career. It was the 1992 test series, the first in which we had five-point tries. The All Blacks had won the first test by one point, we won the second by two points, and won the third by three points. It was a great moment in my career, and I felt lucky to have been there.”
- “Winning the second World Cup was different. It was done by a team that was struggling only a year and a half before. That made it more satisfying than the first one. It was very astute of Rod Macqueen to create the environment for everyone to better himself and peak together at the right time.”