Australian rugby legends in hall of fame

Australian greats George Gregan, David Campese, Ken Catchpole and Mark Ella are among 11 rugby union legends, with almost 500 caps between them, to be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Staged after the opening day of the inaugural International Rugby Board world conference in Dublin on Monday, the other inductees include Australians John Thornett and Tom Lawton snr.

Halfback Gregan, the most-capped player of all-time with 139 appearances to his name, was able to make it to the Irish capital to accept his accolade.

Campese, the other Wallaby to reach three figures after playing 101 times for his country, will receive his framed IRB Hall of Fame cap and pin at a later date in Australia alongside Catchpole, Thornett and Lawton, the latter posthumously.

Apart from winger Campese, the Australian contingent all captained their country at some point in their careers.

World Cup 1999 winner Gregan led the Wallabies to a 2-1 Test series victory over the 2001 British & Irish Lions, while Catchpole wore the armband in almost half his 27 Test appearances.

Five-eighth Ella, the most successful of three rugby-playing brothers, skippered the Wallabies from 1982 to 1984.

Lawton, another No.10, steered Australia to their first whitewash of the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup campaign of 1929.

Under Thornett’s captaincy in the 1960s, Australia became the first nation in 67 years to defeat South Africa in consecutive Tests.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.

“The British and Irish Lions are an institution, a symbol of our history, our present and our future and tours to Australia have delivered bountiful unforgettable memories. These inductees, legends in their own right, have stamped their own mark on this incredible piece of rugby history.”

The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 with the induction of Rugby School and William Webb Ellis.

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