01 GE­ORGE GRE­GAN

NZ Rugby World - - Outside Influences -

There was no doubt­ing Ge­orge Gre­gan was a class act. A supremely half­back who had an un­canny abil­ity to in­spire those around him.

He was a com­pet­i­tive so-and-so and in many ways typ­i­fied the Wal­la­bies of that era – 1995-2004.

Gre­gan was a smart player, in­stinc­tive yet struc­tured. He was men­tally tough, phys­i­cally dy­namic, highly skilled and just the right sort of char­ac­ter to get un­der the skin a lit­tle yet com­mand and de­mand re­spect at the same time.

So when, in the dy­ing min­utes of the 2003 World Cup semi­fi­nal, he taunted the All Blacks with his ‘four more years, boys, four more years,’ sledge ev­ery­one re­mem­bered it.

Fair play to Gre­gan, it was beau­ti­fully timed and hit the mark – it was a com­ment that hurt be­cause it was so true once again the All Blacks had stuffed up an­other World Cup.

Once again, the All Blacks had failed on the big­gest stage and they would have a pain­ful re­minder of that for years to come with Gre­gan’s words ring­ing in their ears.

It was a com­ment that stayed with the All Blacks for years – un­til they reme­died things by win­ning the 2011 World Cup.

“It was ac­tu­ally just di­rected at By­ron Kelle­her we had a com­pet­i­tive, com­bat­ive re­la­tion­ship for many years and it was just at that point in the game; it just hap­pened,” Gre­gan re­vealed in 2015.

“He’d made a few er­rors since he came on; I was just look­ing to put some pres­sure on and I think he was prob­a­bly try­ing to force it a lit­tle bit when he came on and made some un­char­ac­ter­is­tic er­rors which didn’t help his team and the game was sort of slip­ping at that point.

“And I just di­rected that at By­ron, and the cam­era sort of zoomed in at the time and there you go; I’ve never heard the end of it. Ev­ery time I go to New Zealand, the Ki­wis give me that one. So it was a bit of fun; well it’s be­come a bit of fun any­way. But it was just a mo­ment that was cap­tured on cam­era be­tween my­self and By­ron Kelle­her which was di­rected just purely at By­ron, not at the whole All Blacks team.”

BIG MOUTH STRIKES AGAIN Gre­gan’s clas­sic sledge in­spired the All Blacks to fix their is­sues.

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