Bledisloe Cup
Grant Fox helped Wallabies win at Eden Park
ESPN Staff
August 11, 2015
Grant Fox helped 1986 Wallabies, Alan Jones tells ESPN in revealing interview with Greg Growden

Australia have not defeated All Blacks at Eden Park since 1986, when Alan Jones' Grand Slam winners became just the fourth team in history to win a Test series against their hosts in New Zealand.

They did so, Greg Growden has reported for ESPN, with what Mark Ella described at the time as some of the best running rugby he had seen from any side. But they also had a degree of important inside information from a young man still then taking the first steps of what was to become a Rugby World Cup-winning legend.

All Blacks selector Grant Fox speaks with the media, Heritage Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, December 23, 2011
Grant Fox is now an All Blacks selector © Getty Images

Grant Fox was a pivotal player for the All Blacks as they won the inaugural Rugby World Cup, scoring 126 points in the 1987 tournament in Sydney, Brisbane and New Zealand - including 17 against France in the title game at Eden Park. But in September 1986 he was just 24 and making his way in the game with Auckland, a young player with a future rather than a reputation having played just one Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires barely 11 months previously. More importantly, in September 1986, the youngster who would go on to win 46 Test caps - the second against Italy in Auckland eight months later - and who in August 2015 would be an All Blacks selector, was a member of the ground staff at Eden Park.

Jones was keen to gain any advantage for his team after they had been denied a famous series-clinching win in Dunedin, and after they had been battered by Thames Valley in what Greg Growden has described as "an afternoon of brutality".

"Anyway comes the Friday, and we go on for a bit of a kick," Jones told Growden in an exclusive and engaging interview for ESPN. "We just went for a kick at this beautiful ground at Eden Park … and to find out where the touch lines were and so on. Anyway I arrived and Grant Fox … Grant Fox was this points-scoring machine for Auckland and wasn't playing for New Zealand, hadn't been picked. So I said 'what are you doing here', and I didn't know he worked at the ground.

"What are you doing here?"

"He said, 'Oh, I do the signage, I'm responsible for all the signage for around the ground'."

"Really! God, you live at the place?"

Alan Jones names his favourite Wallabies player


"Well, mate, you'd know. Tell me this, at half-past two here, what happens with the wind, here at Eden Park at half-past two?"

"Oh, c'mon. You can piss off."

"Hey listen, listen Foxy, let me tell you something," Jones told Growden. "Tomorrow we're coming to Eden Park and we're going to clean up the All Blacks. Players will be dropped. First player to go will be Frano Botica. The five-eighth. And they'll pick Grant Fox. Only if. We. Clean up. The All Blacks. I'll ask you the question again: 'What happens to the wind?'

"Now I should say to end the story that he didn't tell me, but I think if memory serves me correctly …

"Well, actually at half-past two, the wind it comes over that little house. So I told Slacky … if we win the toss we're running this way."

Watch the video at the top of the content to see the interview in full, and to hear a fantastic anecdote about potato farmers and a scrum machine.

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