A natural leader, former Australia captain John Eales is one of a select group of players to have won two Rugby World Cups, in 1991, aged just 21, and as captain in 1999.
A towering second-row, Eales was not only an outstanding lineout expert and great ball player, but also a formidable kicker of the ball. With 173 points to his name, he remains the highest point scoring forward in the history of the game. Among his most memorable kicks was a late match-winner from the touchline to win the Bledisloe Cup in 2000.
Eales, who made over a century of appearances for Queensland, made his test debut against Wales in his hometown of Brisbane in 1991 and went on to earn 86 caps over the next decade. At the time of his retirement, Eales was the most-capped second-row in history.
Awarded the Order of Australia in 1999, Eales’ stock in Australian rugby is such that the annual medal for the Wallabies’ best player bears his name.
How could I have known where this game would take me when as a seven year old I ran onto the field for the first time in Brisbane? Anyone who has embraced rugby has been rewarded by the game many times over
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.