IRB honour for Gerber, Joost

2007-06-20 14:47

Johannesburg - Former Springboks Danie Gerber, Joost van der Westhuizen and Bennie Osler are among 10 new names to be added to Rugby's Hall of Fame, comprising nine players and a writer.

The 10 new inductees will assemble at Old Billingsgate, London on October 9 to be inducted into The International Rugby Hall of Fame.

The new inductees are Ieuan Evans (Wales & British Isles), Gerber (South Africa), Tom Kiernan (Ireland & British Isles), Jason Leonard (England & British Isles), Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), Sir Terry McLean (New Zealand rugby writer), Graham Mourie (New Zealand), Osler (South Africa), Fergus Slattery (Ireland & British Isles), Van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

The Hall of Fame's report reads:

"The nine players and one writer have been elected after a rigorous induction process involving a screening committee of selected international rugby writers and board of trustees. The 2007 Inductees have served their countries both on and off the field with courage and vision. Their great feats are now being acknowledged by their induction into the Hall of Fame.

"As a player, Leonard reflected all that was good about the game at every level. Initially a great club man with Saracens and then Harlequins, he went on to play 14 seasons of international rugby.

"With England he shared in Triple Crown, Grand Slam and Five and Six Nations triumphs, gained a Rugby World Cup winner's medal, and became the first wearer of the red rose to play 100 Tests before finishing his career with 114 caps, still a record for his country.

"Another of this year's inductees who will need no introduction is the All Black icon Jonah Lomu. His barnstorming arrival in Test rugby at the age of 19 in 1994 helped to redefine wing play at the top level. Over the next eight years he scored a remarkable 37 tries for New Zealand, including four in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semi-final against England

"There will be no shortage of other serial Test try scorers at this October's induction. Joost van der Westhuizen scored 38 tries in 89 Tests for South Africa from the scrumhalf position and is widely regarded as one of the best and certainly most feared scrumhalves of his generation.

"Likewise, Ieuan Evans of Wales and another triple Lion touched down 33 times for his country as well as setting a new national record with 28 games as captain.

"The Hall of Fame continues to recognise great personalities from across the generations. Thus, two posthumous awards will be to a Springbok captain of the 1920s and 1930s, Bennie Osler, and the distinguished Kiwi journalist and author of 32 books, Sir Terry McLean.

"From a more recent vintage of great players comes another formidable Springbok, Danie Gerber, a world-class centre of the 1980s with 19 tries in 24 Tests who symbolised his country's successful re-emergence on the international scene.

"As well as Jonah Lomu and Sir Terry McLean, the enduring influence and quality of New Zealand rugby is further recognised by the induction of Graham Mourie, a marvellously constructive flanker who led his country in 19 of his 21 Tests including a grand slam tour of Europe in 1978.

"And the Lions pedigree doesn't start and finish with Jason Leonard and Ieuan Evans. Two legendary Irish Lions are also to be inducted. Tom Kiernan set new marks for caps, points and captaincy in 13 seasons in the green jersey and toured South Africa twice with the Lions, including as captain in 1968.

"Kiernan's career was almost replicated by the dynamic flanker Fergus Slattery another captain of Ireland in 17 of his 61 Tests and a leading role on two Lions tours that included the historic and invincible expedition to South Africa in 1974.

"The 2007 inductees will join an International Rugby Hall of Fame that currently comprises 55 of the greatest names in the history of the game.

"The International Rugby Hall of Fame Trust was created as a charitable trust in New Zealand in 1995 and the first induction took place two years later. Among the original inductees were the All Black Colin Meads, Lions' legends Willie John McBride and Gareth Edwards, and the magical French fullback Serge Blanco.

"The Trust is independent of any rugby body and its nomination and voting processes are vigorous. The short list for the biennial induction is compiled via nominations from 35 senior rugby journalists from all over the world, and the final list of 10 is identified by polling the 12 trustees of the International Rugby Hall of Fame, many of them established inductees in their own right.

"Designed to honour players, coaches or any individual who has made a major contribution to the game of rugby union, players have to be retired from international Test rugby for twelve months to qualify for the initial voting process."

The full list of International Rugby Hall of Fame Inductees, by country:

Argentina: Hugo Porta

Australia: Ken Catchpole, David Campese, John Eales, Mark Ella, Nick Farr-Jones, Tim Horan, Michael Lynagh

England: Bill Beaumont, Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, Wavell Wakefield

France: Andre Boniface, Serge Blanco, Jo Maso, Jean Prat, Jean-Pierre Rives, Philippe Sella

Ireland: Mike Gibson, Tom Kiernan, Jack Kyle, Willie-John McBride, Syd Millar, Tony O'Reilly, Fergus Slattery, Keith Wood

New Zealand: Fred Allen, Don Clarke, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Dave Gallaher, Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Brian Lochore, Jonah Lomu, Terry McLean, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, George Nepia, Wilson Whineray

Scotland: Gordon Brown, Gavin Hastings, Andy Irvine, Ian McGeechan, Bill McLaren

South Africa: Naas Botha, Danie Craven, Morne du Plessis, Frik du Preez, Danie Gerber, Hennie Muller, Bennie Osler, Francois Pienaar, Joost van der Westhuizen

Wales: Phil Bennett, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, Gareth Edwards, Ieuan Evans, Carwyn James, Barry John, Cliff Morgan, Gywn Nicholls, JPR Williams.