He played in Australia’s two Rugby World Cup victories, captained his country during one of the Wallabies’ most successful eras and even earned the nickname ‘nobody’ – because nobody’s perfect.
Yet according to radio personality Alan Jones, John Eales was very overrated.
Former Wallabies coach Jones launched a short but astonishing attack on Eales on Monday as the broadcaster continued his tirade against the Australian Rugby Union.
“Very overrated player. I’ve always thought Eales an overrated administrator,” Jones told Network Ten of Eales, who is on the ARU board.
Jones has spent much of the past week blasting the ARU as the fallout continues from coach Ewen McKenzie’s resignation and the imbroglio involving star player Kurtley Beale.
Jones said ARU boss Bill Pulver had much to answer for as well, but his attack on Eales is sure to raise some eyebrows.
Eales, widely regarded as one of Australian rugby’s all-time greats, captained Australia in 55 Tests and scored the most points for a forward in the international history of the code.
The lock retired in 2001 with 86 Wallabies caps having played in or captained a national side that won every major trophy in the game.
Eales did not play under Jones in the Australian set-up, the broadcaster losing his post as Wallabies coach after the team’s failed 1987 World Cup campaign.
Eales debuted for Australia in 1991.
The pair have had something of a history outside rugby – with Eales appearing in court to give evidence for Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates in 2007.
Coates was suing Jones over comments the broadcaster made about the “no-row” affair at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Eales was an Australian athlete mentor at the Games.
The NSW Supreme Court found that Jones defamed Coates during three radio broadcasts and ordered $360,000 in damages be paid.