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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

That George Gregan tackle on Jeff Wilson in 1994

That George Gregan tackle on Jeff Wilson 1994

This is one of the most famous try saving tackles in the history of the game. It not only robbed the All Blacks of a 1994 Bledisloe Cup win, but it turned a little known Aussie scrumhalf into an international superstar, and one of the biggest names in rugby.

With full-time approaching, the All Blacks had one last throw of the dice. With a ruck forming by the left touchline, the ball came out to Zinzan Brooke who threw it to Shane Howarth.

Howarth passed it on to Jeff Wilson who was only appearing in his third Test. With the Wallabies defence tiring, Wilson accelerated from 40 metres out and beat off two defenders before coming back inside and brushing off a third. Only five meters out from the line he made his descent towards the line. The try was all but inevitable.

Out of nowhere came a young George Gregan, playing in his fourth Test and unrecognisable with a youthful afro. He dived across, jolting the ball out of Wilson's grasp and ensuring a famous victory for Australia.

That moment instantly became enshrined in rugby folklore and with it forever linking Gregan and Wilson. The enduring image of Gregan wrapped around Wilson's body while the ball is airborne signifies what the Bledisloe Cup is all about. In the blink of an eye, someone can achieve immortality.

- David Wiseman

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