Full name George Musarurwa Gregan
Born April 19, 1973, Lusaka
Current age 43 years 40 days
Major teams Barbarians, Brumbies, Australia
Height 5 ft 8 in
Weight 167 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1995-2007||20||18||2||18||3||0||0||1||16||4||0||80.00|
|The Rugby Championship||1996-2007||48||48||0||23||4||0||0||1||20||27||1||42.70|
|Test debut||Australia v Italy at Brisbane, Jun 18, 1994 match details|
|Last Test||Australia v England at Marseille, Oct 6, 2007 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Love him or loathe the man with the backchat and bravado, George Gregan certainly earned his place as one of the modern greats of the game.
The Australian scrum-half with the quick wit and fastest distribution in world rugby is the most capped player in the international game. He played in 139 Tests for Australia. Gregan played Super Rugby from the inception of the 12-team format in 1996 until it was expanded to the Super 14 in 2007 - an 11-year career that yielded two titles for ACT Brumbies in 2001 and 2004.
Gregan was often at the forefront of famous Wallabies victories and is respected throughout the rugby world for his leadership, tactical nous and unrelenting determination to succeed. This was evident none more so than when, in 1994, his first season with the Wallabies, Gregan appeared from nowhere to make a spectacular try-saving tackle on Jeff Wilson as the All Blacks wing was diving for the line. Gregan's moment of genius helped Australia win the Bledisloe Cup that year and as well as being a favourite on Youtube, it is much remembered as one of the greatest moments in the Wallabies-All Blacks rivalry.
Gregan played in the first of his three World Cups the following year in 1995. Australia were the defending champions but lost to England in the quarter-finals. The 25-22 defeat represented Gregan's first loss in the Green and Gold jersey since his debut against Italy in 1994. A player who straddled the end of the amateur and beginning of professional rugby, Gregan was a founding member of the ACT Brumbies and played in three of Australia's four Tests in the inaugural Tri-Nations Series, scoring a try in a 32-25 defeat by the All Blacks in Brisbane.
After just three years in the Wallabies, Gregan's astuteness and leadership earned him the vice captaincy. He again scored against the All Blacks in the opening Test of the 1997 Tri-Nations which was eventually lost 33-18. Australia won just one game of the series - against South Africa - and finished at the bottom of the table.
The Wallabies were one of the favourites going in to the 1999 World Cup in Wales. They arrived in Britain riding high after victories over Ireland and England although they finished second behind New Zealand in the Tri-Nations. Gregan scored a try in Australia's defeat of Wales in the quarter-final in Cardiff and played an integral role in a titanic tussle with South Africa in a semi-final that went into extra time. Gregan became a World Cup winner after dispatching France in the final.
Gregan was the automatic selection for the captaincy after John Eales retired from the international game, in 2001. He led Australia to the 2003 World Cup final against England - on the way kicking a dropped goal against Ireland in their pool match and scoring a try against Scotland in the quarter-finals. Gregan, as he has so many times before, broke New Zealanders' hearts when he guided the Wallabies past the All Blacks in the semi-final.
He was unable to add another World Cup-winners medal to his collection however, when England's Jonny Wilkinson kicked the winning dropped goal in a thrilling extra-time final in Sydney. Gregan, who was appointed to the Order of Australia in 2004, ran out at the Subiaco Oval in Perth in July the next year for his 100th Test match. It would be only a matter of time before he would set the world record as the most capped player in Test rugby.
Blessed with a healthy body for most of his career, Gregan entered the record books in the second Test against England in Melbourne in the summer (northern hemisphere) of 2006. Two weeks later when the All Blacks came to Brisbane, Gregan equalled Eales' record for the most caps as captain of Australia - 55. He surpassed it against South Africa in Sydney in Australia's next match of the Tri-Nations series, becoming the most capped Australia captain of all time.
Gregan's international career began to wane at the end of 2006. He was rested for the 2006 European tour with Matt Giteau handed the No. 9 jersey, while despite a mini revival against South Africa in the 2007 Tri-Nations, he spent most of the last season of his Wallabies career coming off the bench. He was included in the World Cup squad but lost the captaincy to Stirling Mortlock.
Following the 2007 Rugby World Cup he accepted an offer to play for French side Toulon and helped the club win promotion back to the Top14 before being lured to Suntory Sungoliath in Japan by former Brumbies and Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. He finally decided to bring the curtain down on his epic career at the end of the 2010-11 season, joining the Brumbies as a consultant and serving on the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) board from 2012.