Back in early 2010, Indonesian Rugby hosted Australian Rugby Legend, John Eales for its annual dinner and since that time John and I have remained close friends, sharing a desire to help Indonesian children and youths enjoy the game of rugby as much as we did in our younger days. While our lives and careers have differed greatly on and off the rugby field, John and I have remained focused on making a difference to young people’s lives by being ambassadors to the game of rugby.

Rugby Legend Continues To Help Indonesian Kids
From left to right: David Kirk, Stephen Barber, John Eales.

John Eales’ rugby career has been unparalleled in Australian Rugby history having been the nation’s most successful Captain leading the Wallabies to victory in the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final against France, three Bledisloe Cup series against the All Blacks, two Tri-Nations series and the first ever series defeat of the British and Irish Lions. John also played in the 1991 Wallabies team that won the Rugby World Cup Final against England at Twickenham. John had many famous moments on the rugby field and for many Australians like myself the one memory that will always live in our minds was the day in 2000, when John delivered ‘that kick’ and sunk New Zealand hopes…. second rowers were not meant to kick penalty goals let alone a kick after fulltime to secure a one point win!

John has now been off the rugby field for over 15 years and in that time he has forged a corporate career that has ranged from founding his own company to representing the interests of several other companies and these days he is also a regular part of a television commentary team. During this time John has remained with his feet firmly on the ground when it comes to representing rugby and last year in London, where he was a World Rugby Ambassador, I was once again able to catch up with him and talk about things; as always John was interested in how things were going for Indonesian Rugby.

These days my role in Indonesian Rugby is purely as a spectator unlike in the past, but the one thing that has been etched into my soul is the need to continue the good work done by so many since 2004 and find new ways to help raise awareness and funds for  young Indonesians to  continue playing rugby. Due to working commitments this year I have limited my rugby role to  being a member of the Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation (PHMF) Committee which has sponsored the Komodos Women’s Rugby Team since 2013. Coming up on Thursday December 1, is the 2016 PHMF Golf Day, which is the foundation’s major fund raising event of the year and this year I promised to deliver the committee a new and unique auction item, which brings in my connection with John Eales.

As I discussed earlier John and I have a great love for the game of rugby and a shared passion to see young Indonesians enjoy that opportunity and this year as part of the 2016 PHMF Golf Day we have come up with an opportunity to auction off a “Business lunch for three people with John Eales in Sydney”. This is not your typical auction item, but then John was not your typical rugby player. PHMF was set up in the honour of Priscilla Hall, the sister of my good friend Stewart Hall, who like John has had to endure the loss of a sister at a young age. To me both men have exemplified to me how to be conscious about life and respect how it can be taken away from some far too early, and that we must all focus on the opportunities we get in life and to make the most of them. The three of us firmly believe in the wonderful opportunity we are giving Indonesian children and youths to play rugby and benefit from the game’s core values of teamwork, respect, solidarity, discipline and sportsmanship.

I would like to finish by thanking John on behalf of PHMF and all the Indonesian children and youths who will benefit, for his invaluable generosity and his continued assistance to the Foundation. 

Stephen Barber

Stephen Barber

Born into a rugby-loving family, Stephen has always been passionate about the game. He played for the University of Queensland before a 2-year stint playing in New Zealand. In 2004, Stephen and his friends founded Indonesian Rugby. He still remains a loyal servant of Indonesian Rugby today and was honoured as a life member of the Union in 2013. Stephen is Head of International Relations of Persatuan Rugby Union Indonesia and has been NOW! Jakarta’s rugby contributor since 2008.