This brings us to the dark side of the Gregan appointment.
Gregan was one of the ring leaders, along with the then Wallaby captain Phil Kearns, the All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick and Zinzan Brooke, and the Springboks captain Francois Pienaar in trying to take the game away from the IRB, the ARU, the NZRU and the SARU.
I was at the Sydney Test between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in 1995 after the Rugby World Cup tournament, when Kearns made his disquieting speech to the fans asking them to understand why the players were going down a path that seemed difficult for fans to understand.
I stood with Sir Brian Lochore, the manager of the All Blacks, an icon of the game. He looked across the field and in the saddest of voices wondered out loud if he and the rest of us had watched our last Bledisloe Cup Test.
An hour or so later the All Blacks, with the exception of Jonah Lomu, Jeff Wilson and Josh Kronfeld, signed contracts to play in a rugby circus being promoted by Kerry Packer.
Sources told me that Kearns and Gregan and others put tremendous pressure on younger players in the Wallabies to go along with them. Eales was not allowed into meetings with the team. This great man, on and off the field, was derided as ‘old yellow back.’
Considering George Gregan was only 22 in 1995 it’s a little hard to imagine the green half was exercising much pressure on the rest of the team back then.