Former Queensland and Australia lock John Eales will be remembered as one of the all-time great rugby players.
Once voted Australia’s greatest Wallaby, John's tenure as captain recast the Wallaby mould forever. His humility, integrity and persistence as a leader have become the mark for those who aspire to be great Wallabies and a yardstick for leaders in all public walks of life.
During his rugby career he won every individual and team honour, but nothing changed his gentle and honourable way. John is an Ambassador for QANTAS, a regular columnist in the Australian Financial Review and the author of Learning from Legends Business and Learning from Legends Sport, a series that draws leadership lessons from our heroes.
His retirement from Rugby in September 2001 marked the end of an era for the Australian game.
He was the second-most capped Wallaby ever, and also the most capped Wallaby Captain. John captained the Wallabies in memorable victories including the 1999 World Cup. He led Australia through four successive years of Bledisloe Cup wins and two successful seasons for Tri-Nations fixtures.
In a career that spanned 10 years, John played 86 Tests for Australia, captaining them on 55 occasions accumulating 173 test points. During this time he was regarded as the most outstanding forward in world rugby.
John Eales will certainly go down in rugby history as a legend of the game and one of Australia’s greatest sports people.
On news of his retirement Australian Prime Minister John Howard said; “I wish to record my admiration for the magnificent contribution that John Eales has made to the game of rugby, and to Australian and international sport. John Eales has been an inspirational leader, an outstanding and courageous player, and an example to all in the way he has conducted himself on and off the field”.