01 GEORGE GREGAN
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.