Owen Desmond Anthony Finegan
- 724Wallaby Number
Born in Sydney of Irish parents, Owen Finegan was an abrasive lock / flanker whose rampaging runs on the fringes of rucks and mauls were his modus operandi. A colossal powerhouse at just shy of 2m tall and 120kg, Finegan was big, strong, bruising and especially effective as a replacement running at tired defenders.
Finegan attended Waverley College, represented Combined Associated Schools and joined the Randwick Rugby Club. In 1993 he was chosen for Australian U21s and a year later made his New South Wales debut against Southland in Invercargill.
After just six Waratah games over two seasons Finegan moved to Canberra for the inaugural season of professional Super Rugby. Four months after his Brumbies debut Finegan played his maiden Test for Australia against Wales in Brisbane. Finegan went on to become an integral component of many great victories during the golden era for Wallaby rugby including the 1998 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand, Australia’s second Tri Nations’ title in 2001 and the 2001, 2-1 home series triumph over the British & Irish Lions.
He will forever be remembered for one of the more memorable tries, scored in the final of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Deep into injury time Australia threw into a lineout 30 metres from the French line. George Gregan was fed the ball ‘off the top’, ran wide and sent an inside flick pass to Finegan, a move they had perfected with the Brumbies. Finegan shed the inside defender, set off for the line, appeared to slow and look for an offload to a support player only to then charge on, slip two weak attempts at tackle, and surge through French fullback Xavier Garbajosa to score. With that try victory was sealed and Finegan returned home as a World Champion.
Owen Finegan played 55 Tests for Australia in an eight-year international career.
Finegan won his first Test cap as the run-on XV blindside flanker in the 1st Test, 56-25 victory over Wales in Brisbane. He scored his first Test try in the 2nd Test, 42-3 defeat of Wales in Sydney. Finegan earned seven Test caps in 1996.
Finegan missed the opening five Tests of the year but returned to play in each of the remaining seven internationals. He started the final three Tri Nations Tests at lock and shifted to No.6 for the four Spring Tour matches.
He played in 12 of the Wallabies’ 13 Tests, 11 of which were as a replacement with a lone starting cap in the Rugby World Cup qualifier against Tonga.
Finegan missed the home series against Ireland, the Centenary Test against England and the first three Tri Nations. He came off the bench in the 28-7, 2nd Test win over New Zealand and then was selected to his first Rugby World Cup. Finegan played in all six Australian matches and scored the memorable title-sealing try in the final against France.
He started all 11 Tests at blindside flanker.
Finegan played in each of the opening six Tests of the year. He earned his 50th cap in the 31-33, 2nd Test loss to South Africa in Johannesburg. Finegan was rested for the Spring Tour win over Argentina in Buenos Aires before he dislocated his shoulder in the 9-18 loss to Ireland in Dublin.
Finegan earned his final four caps as a replacement in each match of the Tri Nations tournament.