The last time Australia won the Bledisloe Cup was in 2002 when an Eddie Jones-led side defeated New Zealand 16-14 in Sydney in front of almost 80,000 fans.
Since then, it’s been over two decades of hurt as the All Blacks have dominated the rivalry and kept the cup in New Zealand.
Ahead of the 2023 edition of the Bledisloe Cup, we look back at the Wallabies class of 2002 and see what they have gotten up to since hanging up their boots.
The last Wallabies team to win the Bledisloe Cup
15 Chris Latham: One of the Wallabies’ all-time greats, Latham retired from international rugby in 2007, scoring 40 tries in 78 Tests, a tally only bettered by David Campese. He went on to have stints in England with Worcester Warriors and Japan with Kyuden Voltex, before moving into the coaching box. He worked with the Red Hurricanes in Japan until 2018 and had a brief stint as Samoa’s assistant coach, and was head coach of the Utah Warriors until 2021. Latham also owns a laundromat business in Brisbane.
Mental health struggles
14 Ben Tune: Another Wallaby great, Tune finished up his playing career in 2007 and initially took up commentary with Network Ten. In 2013, Tune went public with his mental health issues and suicide attempt but has learnt to cope after seeking help. He told Fox Sports’ Greg Clark in 2015: “I still battle day in, day out with depression and negative thoughts if we can call them that. My world has changed massively — financially; it’s very different; even socially, it’s very different. But I feel like my life is as good as it has been for a long time, and the path I’m on is a good one.” He is now the CEO of a Sport and Talent Management Company and a partner in a company concentrating on business coaching, creation and capital and is the owner of a Bank of Queensland franchise.
13 Matt Burke: The Wallabies’ Mr Reliable, Burke enjoyed a glittering career for Australia, playing 81 Tests, mostly at full-back, scoring over 800 points for the Wallabies. He headed north in 2004 to play for Newcastle Falcons until his retirement in 2008. Since then, he has worked as a sports presenter on 10 News First and opened a sports business specialising in skills sessions for children. Burke also sound his luxury house in Sydney and a family-owned hotel for huge profits. His daughter Edie Burke has also ventured into rugby and played for the NSW sevens team in 2021.
— CommentaryBoxSports (@Comm_Box_Sports) October 17, 2016
12 Daniel Herbert: The hard-running centre joined Perpignan after retiring from Test rugby in 2002 after 67 Test caps and 82 appearances for the Reds. While in France, Herbert sustained an injury to his neck and, at one stage, was paralysed down one side of his body. But remarkably, he returned to rugby just nine months later before calling time on his career. Since then, he has gone on to a successful corporate career, having been involved on the commercial side of sportswear brand Skins and the Queensland Reds. He is the CEO of property services firm, SSKB, and is a Rugby Australia board member.
11 Stirling Mortlock: Following a decorated career, the former Wallabies skipper moved into the business world after retirement. He was the director of the Melbourne Rebels and a wealth director at National Australia Bank, and Treasurer and Chairman at the Rugby Club Foundation. More recently, he and James Godfrey founded a Sports Advisory & Investment Firm called XV Capital.
100 Test cap Wallabies
10 Stephen Larkham: The intelligent playmaking fly-half moved straight into the coaches’ box following his career, taking up an assistant coach role with the Brumbies in 2010 after a brief playing stint in Japan. The 102-Test cap Wallaby was promoted to head coach of his beloved Brumbies in 2014 and worked alongside Michael Cheika with the Wallabies. In 2017, he left the Brumbies to join the Wallabies full-time until leaving for Munster in 2019 to join Johann van Graan’s coaching staff. He returned to the Brumbies in 2022 and is seen as a future Wallabies head coach.
9 George Gregan: The legendary scrum-half retired as the most capped Wallaby in 2007, with his record only now under threat. Since he retired from professional rugby in 2011, he has done a host of TV punditry across several channels in Australia and abroad. He and his wife own a collection of espresso bars, wine bars and bistros. They also set up The George Gregan Foundation after their son Max was diagnosed with epilepsy. He is also an ambassador of several companies around the world.
— RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) August 14, 2018
8 Toutai Kefu: Another member of the side who has gone into coaching. The former powerhouse back-rower played the last of his 60 Tests for Australia in 2003 before heading to Japan. He returned to Australia for a brief coaching stint with the Sunshine Coast Stingrays and assisted Tonga in 2011 and 2012 before returning to Japan to coach Kubota Spears. He held the role with Kubota until 2016, when he was named Tonga’s new head coach, a position he still holds.
7 George Smith: The incredibly talented openside flanker played as recently as 2019, calling time on a career that saw him play 111 Test matches for Australia. He also played for clubs in France, Japan and England. He has now turned his hand to coaching in Japan.
CEO and commentator
6 Owen Finegan: The bruising back-five forward enjoyed stints at Newcastle and Leinster before hanging up his boots in 2007. The 56-Test cap Wallaby was a director at TJS Services, a club coach at Gungahlin Eagles and the CEO of Snowy Hydro South Care Rescue Helicopter. Since 2015, he has been the CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) April 22, 2017
5 Justin Harrison: The 34-time Wallabies second-row left Australia in 2005 to join Ulster, who he played over 70 times before linking up with Bath. A cocaine scandal and a bar fight ended his time at Bath, and he returned to Australia, rejoining the Brumbies. After retirement, he became the Brumbies forwards coach before moving to France to take up the same role with Narbonne. He became the French side’s head coach holding the position until 2016. He has since returned to Australia, where he was the President of Harrison Services until 2019 and was the GM of Classic Wallabies. Harrison currently works for Stan Sports as a pundit and is the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) CEO.
4 Nathan Sharpe: The 116-Test cap lock has kept himself busy after his playing career commentating for Fox Sports and Channel Ten. He was an Executive at SES Labour Solutions for almost 10 years and worked at Brunel Australasia until recently. He also launched a functional training system to improve strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness in 2015 and is the director of mining service provider, Talisman.
Banking, coaching and family business
3 Patricio Noriega: The Argentine-born tighthead prop returned in 2003 after playing for both the Wallabies and Los Pumas. He returned to Argentina after his retirement and became the head coach of his former club Hindu. He has since held roles with several French clubs as a scrum coach and has moved into the head coach role and recently turned down the opportunity to coach Spain.
2 Jeremy Paul: The hard-nosed hooker played the last of his 72 caps in 2006 before wrapping up his playing career at Gloucester. He, too, has gone into the business world since and currently works for Adelaide Bank and has worked as a sports contributor.
1 Bill Young: The former loosehead prop has taken over the family hotel business since his retirement and is believed to own six hotels and a suburban pub.