1999 JOHN EALES
POSITION: Lock AGE ON DEBUT: 21 AGE WHEN FIRST CAPTAIN: 24 CAPS BEFORE BECOMING CAPTAIN: 31 TESTS AS CAPTAIN: 55 TOTAL CAPS: 86 KEY QUALITIES: World Class player and all rounder. Intelligent. Articulate. Strategic. Capacity to learn from business. Deep belief in the Wallabies.
John Eales was a World Cup winner with the Wallabies in 1991 and is one of a select group to win the tournament twice. The second time, he did so as captain – a job that was destined to be his for some time.
Eales’ nickname is Nobody – as in, Nobody is perfect. Again, he’s a man with a big intellect and strong education.
A phenomenal player, Eales was not only the world’s premier lineout forward throughout the 1990s, he was a superb goal-kicker and probably could have played as easily at No 8 and fullback as he did at lock.
What struck about his captaincy was the depth of research he undertook in different fields. Eales felt he could learn about leadership
by studying influential business figures.
So his captaincy was a potent mix of extreme talent – he was the most gifted Wallaby on the field; incredible tactical and strategic understanding and strong knowledge of the art of leadership.
Eales was a tower of strength to those around him – someone who refused to panic under pressure. He could inspire, he could demand and he could deliver – qualities that helped the Wallabies guts out their semifinal win at the 1999 World Cup.
Eales is another whose depth has become apparent in his post-rugby career as he’s been phenomenally successful in business and as a consultant.