George Musarurwa Gregan, born 19 April 1973, is an Australian rugby union scrum-half who made more appearances for his national team than any other player in the sport’s history. He captained the team to many victories and is respected throughout the rugby world for his tenacity, tactical skill, leadership ability, and sportsmanship, but is also known for his ‘talk-back’ to referees.
Gregan played Super 14 for the ACT Brumbies from 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.
Gregan was born in Lusaka, Zambia, of a Zimbabwean mother and an Australian father. 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.
He represented Australia in rugby union at under-19 and under-21 level.
George made his first appearance for the Wallabies in 1994 in a match against Italy in Brisbane, which the Wallabies won, 23 to 20. He was subsequently capped in the victories over Italy again, and Western Samoa.
He made an immediate impact for the team, making a 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. 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.
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 forming of the Tri Nations Series between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He was elevated to the vice-captaincy of the Wallabies in 1997. After the international retirement of John Eales in 2001, Gregan became the Wallabies captain.
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. In October 2004, Gregan announced that his four-year-old son had epilepsy and launched the George Gregan Foundation.
Following the World Cup in France 2007, George retired from Australian rugby and joined French Club Toulon for one season. On 18 June 2008 it was announced that he had joined Suntory Sungoliath in Japan, where he completed three seasons.
George officially retired from rugby in 2011 and is now based in Sydney. He is working on a number of projects including evolving The Gregan Group; the cafe, bar and catering business he owns with his wife Erica.
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