Former Queensland Reds and Wallaby captain John Eales will be immortalized in bronze as the next statue at Suncorp Stadium.
The striking statue will capture second rower Eales being lifted by another player as he catches a lineout ball.
The design will allow fans to pose for pictures, holding Eales’ legs and helping to “lift” in the lineout
Sculpted by artist Liam Hardy, who created the Mal Meninga and Arthur Beetson statues at the northern end of the stadium, the statue is planned to be unveiled at the southern end before the Wallabies September Test Match against South Africa.
The statue has been commissioned by the Queensland Rugby Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Queensland Rugby Union, and is funded by Stadiums Queensland, AEG Ogden and the Queensland Government.
Eales said he was humbled by the recognition.
“This is an incredible honour, but I think it’s more about recognising the contribution the game has made than anything I’ve done.
“It’s also a recognition of the joy and excitement our game has brought to millions of Queenslanders,” he said.
John Eales biography
John Eales has 86 Test caps for the Wallabies, 55 as captain, and was capped 112 times for Queensland, 16 as captain, in an 11-year career.
He is one of only five Australians to have won two Rugby World Cups, captaining the victorious 1999 side, and played for Queensland in two winning Super Rugby championships.
In July 1996, he captained the Wallabies during their first Test at Lang Park (now Suncorp Stadium) losing to the All Blacks in the final minutes 32-25.
He also captained the Wallabies to a 32-20 win over South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in 1997 and an historic 76-0 drubbing of England, in 1998 at the same venue.
At the time of his retirement he was the most capped second rower of all time, with 84 Test appearances at lock and another two at number eight.
Eales is the highest scoring Test forward in history with 173 points, all but nine of them – one four-point and one five-point try – coming from his kicking.
Eales scored 611 points for Queensland, 10 tries, 101 conversions and 121 penalties.
In 1999 he was named a member of Queensland’s Team of the Century.
He was the 2002 Queenslander of the Year, is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the community and rugby and a member of the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame.
The Wallabies’ player’s player award is the John Eales Medal.