Greg Steve Holmes
- 804Wallaby Number
Most rugby players would be considered lucky to have an international career that lasted seven years, nine months and 19 days. For Wallaby tight head prop Greg Holmes seven years, nine months and 19 days was simply the gap between his 13th and 14th caps. Over that period the Wallabies played 101 Tests.
Born in Warwick, Queensland and educated at Downlands College in Toowoomba, Holmes first represented Australia at the 2000 Commonwealth Youth Games in discus, hammer and shot put. He did not play representative schools rugby but did so at aged level when selected to the 2004 IRB U21 World Championships.
In 2005, Holmes made his Super Rugby debut for Queensland against Auckland and was then chosen in the Wallabies’ Spring Tour squad where he made his Test debut in the opening match of that tour, against France in Marseilles. He played twelve more Tests through to the end of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
While not chosen for the national team Holmes continued to ply his trade for the Reds and was in the squad that won the 2011 Super Rugby title. Four years later, and in one of the more remarkable non-injury related, rugby comeback stories of all-time Holmes returned to the Wallaby squad. He won a place to his second Rugby World Cup and played in six of Australia’s seven matches. Later that year Holmes announced he had signed a two-year deal with U.K. Premiership side Exeter Chiefs for the 2016/17 season.
Incredibly, Greg Holmes' Wallaby journey did not end there and in 2020 he signed with the Western Force. The following season, with Pone Fa’amausili injured and Alan Ala’alatoa absent for the birth of his first child, Holmes was recalled to the Wallaby match day squad against Argentina. When Holmes entered the field of play in the 63rd minute he joined the great Tony ‘Slaggy’ Miller (#393) as the oldest test capped Wallaby - 38 years and 113 days - since World War II.
Selected in the Australian squad for the third-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in Scotland.
Holmes won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Matt Dunning at loose head prop in the 16-26 loss to France in Marseilles. He won two more caps on that Spring Tour including his first in the starting XV for the 30-14 win over Ireland in Dublin.
Holmes started the opening eight Tests of the year in the No.1 jersey however his season was cut short due to a neck injury. He scored his first Test try, described as the greatest of all-time by a front row forward, when he picked up the ball at the back of a ruck and sprinted more than 60 metres to score adjacent to the posts in the 37-15 victory over Ireland in Perth.
A shoulder reconstruction saw Holmes miss the domestic Test season and the Tri-Nations tournament however he did earn selection to his first Rugby World Cup. He played in two matches, against Fiji and Canada.
In a comeback that was described as “surreal” by Wallaby captain Stephen Moore, Holmes returned to the Wallabies and played in 11 of their 12 internationals. He won selection to his second Rugby World Cup and came off the bench in six of the seven matches of that campaign.
Holmes started at tighthead in each of the three home Tests against England to conclude his rather extraordinary international rugby career.
Five years and ninety-nine days after his Test career appeared over, Holmes came off the bench to win his 28th and final cap, against Argentina at cbus Stadium.