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George Gregan

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George Gregan
George
Full name George Musarurwa Gregan
Date of birth 1973-04-19
Place of birth Lusaka, Zambia
Height 1.73
Weight 76

handed = right

Rugby union career
Position Scrum-half
Super Rugby Caps (points)
1996-present Brumbies 136 (117)
Current local club: Randwick
correct as of 7 August, 2006.
National team(s)    
1994-present Australia 132 (99)
correct as of 11 September 2006.
Other Information
Occupation Professional rugby
union footballer
School  attended St Edmund's College
Spouse Erica Gregan
Children Max Gregan

George Musarurwa Gregan AM (born 19 April 1973 in Lusaka, Zambia) is an Australian rugby union scrum-half who has made more appearances for his national team than any other player in the sport's history. He has captained the team to many victories and he is respected throughout the rugby world for his tenacity, tactical skill, leadership ability, and sportsmanship. Gregan has played Super 12 (now Super 14) for the Brumbies since the inception of that competition in 1996, helping to lead them to overall victories in 2001 and 2004. He is a foundation Brumbies player and one of the few players whose careers span over both the amateur and professional eras.[1] His appearances as Australian captain include a Bledisloe Cup win in 2002 and an extra-time loss to England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.

Early lifeEdit

Gregan was born in Zambia, of a Zimbabwean mother and an Australian father [2], coincidentally in the same hospital where Corné Krige, who would grow up to be the South Africa captain during Gregan's Wallabies captaincy, would be born two years later. His family moved to Australia when he was one year old, and he grew up in Canberra where he was educated at St Edmund's College and graduated from the Bachelor of Education (Physical Education) University of Canberra.

Rugby careerEdit

Gregan represented Australia at under-19 and under-21 level.

Early International Career 1994 to 1999Edit

He made his first appearance for the Wallabies in 1994 in a match against Italy in Brisbane, which the Wallabies won by three points, 23 to 20. He was subsequently capped in the victories over Italy again, and Western Samoa.

Later that year, Gregan made a famous try-saving tackle on All Black Jeff Wilson that directly led to Australia winning the Bledisloe Cup that year and is much remembered as one of the greatest moments in the Wallabies-All Blacks rivalry.[3] After two caps against Argentina the following season, Gregan had so far been on the winning side in all of his international games as Australia entered the 1995 World Cup in South Africa as defending champions. However, Australia made their exit at the quarter finals, losing 25 to 22 to England at Newlands in Cape Town.

The game went professional post-1995 World Cup, and one outcome of this was the formation of the Super 12, of which Gregan became a foundation player for the ACT Brumbies franchise. That season Gregan appeared eight times for the Wallabies, including solid wins over both Wales and Canada in Brisbane, scoring a try in the Canadian clash. Another outcome of professionalism was the formation of the Tri Nations Series between Australia, the All Blacks and South Africa. Gregan played in three of Australia's four fixtures at the first ever tournament, scoring a try in the 25 to 32 loss to the All Blacks in Brisbane.

He was elevated to the vice-captaincy of the Wallabies in 1997. In the 1997 Tri Nations Series, Gregan scored a try in the opening game against the All Blacks, which was eventually lost 18 to 33, and the Wallabies won only one game, against South Africa, finishing at the bottom of the table. By the end of the year, Gregan was capped another four times.

After winning in two matches against the Irish, and one against England in the winter of 1999 at home, the Wallabies ended up finishing in the middle of the table for the 1999 Tri Nations Series (with Gregan having played in every match), though they were still favourable entering the 1999 World Cup held in Wales. Australia finished at the top of Pool E, winning all their games, with Gregan playing in the matches against Romania and Ireland, though he was rested in the final pool game against the USA. The Wallabies went onto defeat hosts Wales in the quarter finals at the new Millennium Stadium with Gregan scoring a try, putting Joe Roff into space and then taking the scoring pass, and enter the final after defeating defending champions South Africa in the semi-finals. The Wallabies became two-time World Champions after defeating France 35 to 12 in the final.

Appointed as captainEdit

After the international retirement of John Eales in 2001, Gregan became the Wallabies captain. He was an obvious choice to fill the role, as it would be a natural progression from his position as vice-captain, as well as the fact that Gregan was a virtual automatic selection for the national team.[4]

Gregan played in all of Australia's six matches at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Gregan landed an early drop goal in the close 17 to 16 victory over Ireland in the pool stages. He also scored a try in the 33 to 16 win over Scotland in the quarter-finals. He led the Wallabies into the final - defeating the All Blacks in the semi final only to lose to England in the final.

Post 2003 World CupEdit

Following Australia's heartbreaking loss to the English in the World Cup, Gregan led the Wallabies on a massive winning campaign during the 2004 season. After defeating Scotland twice at home, the Wallabies faced the English in a World Cup replay in Brisbane, where they got their revenge, defeating England 51 to 15. Under Gregan, Australia lost just two matches in 2004, one against South Africa, and then against France in Paris. In June 2004, Gregan was appointed to the Order of Australia for his services to Rugby Union Football and in particular as the Captain of the Wallabies.

In July during the 2005 Tri Nations Series, Gregan ran out at Subiaco Oval in Perth against South Africa for his 100th Wallaby test.[5] In October 2004, Gregan announced that his four-year-old son had epilepsy and has launched an epilepsy awareness campaign in Australia with the slogan 'Get on the Team'. He also took up the role of patron of Brainwave Australia.

Gregan missed a lot of the 2005 Super 12 season after breaking his leg during a game against the New South Wales Waratahs in Canberra. He collided with opposition halfback Chris Whitaker in the second half, although it was initially thought that he had badly bruised his left leg, subsequent scans revealed a broken fibula.[6] Though he was expected to be fit to return for the test season. Gregan returned for the match against Italy in Melbourne, which the Wallabies won 61 to 29. Though after a win over the French and one over the Springboks, the Wallabies fell to the bottom of the 2005 Tri Nations Series table, losing all of their games.

With his start in the final match of the 2005 Tri Nations at Eden Park in Auckland against the All Blacks, Gregan equalled England's Jason Leonard as the most-capped player for a national team in Test rugby, with 114 (Leonard also has five Lions caps). However, the last 20 or so of Leonard's caps were from being fielded in the last 5 to 10 minutes of the game. Gregan on the other hand was in the starting XV of the Wallabies in most of those 114 games. Appropriately, when Australia made their entrance for that match, Gregan went out on the field by himself before any of his team-mates entered the pitch.

On 5 November 2005, he earned his 115th cap, surpassing Leonard, when he led out the Wallabies at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille against France. The Wallabies lost the match 16 to 26, which was the start of a disastrous tour of Europe. The French loss was followed by a meeting with the English at Twickenham, where England's superior scrummaging saw them also win 26 to 16. The Australian team, including Gregan, as well as Eddie Jones were starting to come under big pressure from the Australian media. They left Europe with a 1-3 record.

2006Edit

Upon returning to Australia, coach Eddie Jones was sacked and Gregan subsequently came under similar pressure. In the first test of 2006, under new coach John Connolly, the Wallabies completed a solid win over England with Gregan silencing his critics with a strong performance AlertThe neutrality of this statement is disputed. Please start a discussion on the talk page.. A tactical move by Connolly saw him move Gregan to the bench for the second test of the Cook Cup, to give Sam Cordingley game time. Gregan came off the bench in the second half at Telstra Dome in Melbourne as he earned his 120th international cap - setting a new world record.

After the matches against the English and Irish the Wallabies entered the 2006 Tri Nations Series. Two weeks later the All Blacks came to Brisbane for the Bledisloe Cup clash, in which Gregan equalled John Eales' record for most caps as captain of Australia, which is 55.[7] In the subsequent match against South Africa in Sydney, Gregan pasted Eales' record, becoming the most capped Australian captain of all time.[8] The Wallabies managed to scrape home 20 to 18, and Gregan was again under pressure from the Australian media, however such scrutiny has been viewed by some as heavily critical.[9] However, Gregan is coming under increasing pressure to step aside and let others such as Matt Giteau have a shot.[10] Connolly labelled the criticism of Gregan as unfair[11]. In the 2006 European Tour, Gregan was rested and Matt Giteau was given a chance at halfback.

2007Edit

On March 22, 2007, the French second-division club Toulon announced that it had signed Gregan to a contract for the 2007-08 season. He will arrive in France after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and will reportedly be paid €400,000 for the season.[12]

Gregan played his last home game with the Brumbies on April 28, 2007; leading his team to a victory over the Canterbury Crusaders. Fittingly, this was also the last home game for his team mate Stephen Larkham, with whom he has shared many a memorable moment on the field. The two were sent off with the announcement that a stand at Canberra Stadium is to be named after them.

Gregan has again been selected as part of the Wallabies squad for the upcoming home tests against Wales and Fiji and the Tri-Nations Series, although he is no longer the Captain of the team and was on the reserves bench behind Matt Giteau for the Tests against Wales. Gregan did regain his starting spot for the first Tri-Nations game against South Africa, showing his class and longevity, as well as Australia's lack of depth at his position. The Wallabies' co-Captains are Phil Waugh and Stirling Mortlock but Waugh was dropped to the bench during the Tri-Nations in place of Gregan's Brumbies teammate George Smith, elevationg Mortlock to the captaincy. Wallabies coach John Connolly has however, suggested that it is still possible for Gregan to lead the Wallabies to Rugby World Cup 2007, depending on his form.

In June 2007, Greg Growden, Chief Rugby Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald said that "several high-ranking Australian Rugby Union sources told the Herald that Gregan was the "raging hot favourite" to be Australia's World Cup captain" [13] However, when the World Cup squad was announced, Mortlock was named Captain, whilst Waugh and Gregan were named vice captains.

ReferencesEdit

  1. George Gregan. brumbies.com.au. Retrieved on 17 June, 2006.
  2. http://www.georgegregan.com/george/ggprofile.html
  3. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Cricket/Wilson-swaps-a-rugby-jersey-for-a-Black-Cap/2005/01/12/1105423557790.html
  4. GREGAN NAMED WALLABY CAPTAIN. rugby.com.au. Retrieved on 29 July, 2006.
  5. George Gregan to Play his 100th Test Match. rugby.com.au. Retrieved on 17 June, 2006.
  6. George Gregan out for rest of Super 12. 2rugby.com. Retrieved on 17 June, 2006.
  7. Gregan to level Eales. sportal.com.au. Retrieved on 29 July, 2006.
  8. Gregan happy to win to ugly. scrum.com. Retrieved on 9 August, 2006.
  9. Gregan under microscope after Australia limp past S.Africa. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on 7 August, 2006.
  10. Veteran Gregan under new attack. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 7 August, 2006.
  11. Connolly defends Gregan. sportal.com.au. Retrieved on 9 August, 2006.
  12. Gregan puts pen to paper with Toulon. Planet-Rugby.com (22 March 2007).
  13. http://www.rugbyheaven.smh.com.au/articles/2007/06/27/1182623992753.html

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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