Australia Wallabies 2002 Bledisloe Cup Holder Epic Game, IT has been a while between drinks.
The Wallabies last supped from the Bledisloe Cup way back in 2002, when there was no Facebook, Twitter or iPhone, most households had an old-fashioned tube-television in the corner of their living room and John Howard was still the prime minister.
Australia gets its next crack at trans-Tasman bragging rights when the Wallabies host the All Blacks in Sydney on August 8.
But in the meantime, let’s relive the Wallabies glory days, and track down the class of 2002 in a where are they now special.
Captained by George Gregan, Australia beat the All Blacks 16-14 in Sydney in 2002, retaining the Bledisloe on the back of tries to Mat Rogers and Nathan Sharpe in front of 79,543.
New Zealand reclaimed the cup in 2003 — sneaking home 21-17 at Eden Park — and have had an iron grip on the prized silverware ever since.
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THE 2002 WALLABIES, WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Fullback: Chris Latham
Australia’s second highest try scorer is now soaking up the sun on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, where he is the region’s tourism ambassador.
Not a bad gig — and Rugby HQ caught up with Latham in May to shoot a video with Socceroos legend Harry Kewell.
In between fishing, Latham told Greg Clark that he rated the Wallabies’ chances of winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup under Michael Cheika.
“We’re going to have to take it to the opposition and play the Aussie brand of rugby,” Latham said.
“I think Michael’s got a really good brand of wanting to play and it’s a winning way as well.”
The Queensland flyer has had a rough ride in life after hanging up the boots.
In June, Tune told Clark that his battles with depression led him to make the harrowing decision to attempt to end his life in 2009.
Tune is now a beyondblue ambassador after bravely going public with his demons — and a proud family man in Brisbane.
“I’ve got three healthy, active, beautiful young boys who are my world,” Tune said.
“I still battle day in, day out with depression and negative thoughts…
“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.”
Outside centre: Matt Burke
The Wallabies sharpshooter is still kicking goals in his new gig as a Sydney-based sports presenter for Channel Ten.
He’s also a busy man on the home front, with four daughters, a cocker spaniel and a passion for renovation.
“I’ve never really had an office job before where I get to wear suits and the whole thing,” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2014.
“It’s all very grown up!”
Inside centre: Daniel Herbert
The hard-running Herbert is still involved with Queensland Rugby, now working as the union’s chief commercial officer.
After retiring from Test rugby, his stint with French club Perpignan turned sour, when he injured his neck so badly he was at one stage paralysed down one side of his body.
Remarkably, after a nine month rehabilitation, he made a return to rugby.
Left wing: Stirling Mortlock
The former skipper is now a director of the Melbourne Rebels, and a wealth director at National Australia Bank.
Mortlock’s decorated Test and Super Rugby career was recognised in 2012 when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
Fly half: Stephen Larkham
“Bernie’s” renowned rugby brain is ticking over as quickly as ever.
Larkham is the head coach of the Brumbies and the attack coach of the Wallabies as he tries to replicate his Rugby World Cup heroics as a player.
Halfback: George Gregan
The little general has formed a successful husband and wife business team with Erica, owning an expanding collection of espresso bars, wine bars and bistros.
Gregan is also a Fox Sports commentator and he and wife Erica have set up The George Gregan Foundation, after their son Max was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Loose-head prop: Bill Young
The big front-rower is now in the New South Wales hotel game, having taken over the family business which includes the Concord Hotel, The Palace Hotel and Wisemans Ferry Inn Hotel.
“I did a business degree when I finished school and the intention was to be in the hotel game,” Young said.
Hooker: Jeremy Paul
The long-time Brumbies No 2 is now a Central Coast resident and the director of coaching at the Terrigal Trojans club.
Before that, Paul was involved in the Canberra restaurant industry, and had a playing stint in England with Gloucester.
Tight-head prop: Patricio Noriega
The Argentine turned Aussie international was dumped as head coach of French club Bayonne in July, after being relegated in his first season at the helm.
Before that Noriega worked as a scrum guru for the Australian Rugby Union and Racing Metro.
Lock: Nathan Sharpe
The former captain has plenty on his plate.
Based in Brisbane, Sharpe is a director of SES Labour Solutions — involved in the mining industry — as well as a commentator for Channel Ten.
Sharpe is also presumably driving in style — he is an ambassador for BMW Australia.
Lock: Justin Harrison
Harrison is the head coach of French club RC Narbonne and has enjoyed some success, following the dark days of 2009 when he was banned for eight months after admitting he took cocaine on the night of Bath’s end-of-season party.
Blindside flanker: Owen Finegan
The big bruiser is another high achiever from the class of ‘02, currently Sydney-based and working as the chief executive of the Kids Cancer Project.
Earlier this year Finegan resigned as the chief executive of Canberra-based rescue helicopter service Snowy Hydro SouthCare — where he admitted he had only been in a chopper twice.
Openside flanker: George Smith
The only ‘02 player still playing — Smith just keeps on keeping on.
The brilliant No 7 has just signed a new contract with English club Wasps and, at 35, remains an outside chance of playing at the 2015 World Cup.
“He’s such a good guy to have in your team,” said former teammate Phil Waugh.
“If you turn around in the changing room, and you see George Smith there, you get a lot of comfort.”
No 8: Toutai Kefu
After finishing his playing career in Japan with the Kubota Spears, the powerful back-rower is now the head coach of that Top League club.
He also helped coach Tonga’s 2011 World Cup team, which caused the boilover of the tournament by beating France.