Former Ireland hooker and captain Keith Wood has today been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame. Capped 58 times for Ireland, he was the inaugural winner of the IRB Player of the Year award back in 2001.
IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No. 91 – Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood (Ireland & British & Irish Lions)
Keeping Keith Wood quiet in a match was a nigh on impossible task. The man from Munster just loved to be involved at every opportunity from first whistle to the last, whether that was scrummaging, tackling, carrying the ball from deep, hitting the line at pace or even kicking out of hand.
Hard-as-nails with all the physical attributes required of a front row forward plus the skills of a back, the shaven-headed hooker became a talisman for Ireland and the British & Irish Lions in his nine-year international career.
These qualities added to his prowess as an orator combined to make Wood a fine leader of men who captained his country with distinction.
Wood was capped 58 times by Ireland – leading his country on 36 occasions and scoring 15 tries (which remains a world record for a hooker) – and appeared in three Rugby World Cups as well as touring twice with the Lions.
At the 1999 Rugby World Cup, he scored four tries against the USA Eagles to equal the record for most tries by a forward in a single RWC match.
Wood is the seventh Irish player to be included in the IRB Hall of Fame, joining Jack Kyle (2008), Willie John McBride, Syd Millar, Tony O’Reilly (all 2009), Mike Gibson (2010) and Ronnie Dawson (2013).
Wood is one of fifteen legends inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame this year. This latest inductions include the first women to enter the Hall of Fame as well as some greats of the men’s game.
The new inductions are: Nathalie Amiel (France), Gill Burns (England), Patty Jervey (USA), Carol Isherwood (England), Anna Richards (New Zealand), Farah Palmer (New Zealand), Keith Rowlands (Wales), Jim Greenwood (Scotland), JPR Williams (Wales), Michael Lynagh (Australia), Jo Maso (France), Keith Wood (Ireland), Ieuan Evans (Wales), Jason Leonard (England) and Bill Beaumont (England).
Four of the six females inducted are Women’s Rugby World Cup winners from Jervey at the inaugural tournament in 1991 to Richards winning a fourth title in-a-row with the Black Ferns in 2010, while Amiel coached France to third place at the 2014 edition on home soil in August.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, who joined IRB Hall of Fame panel member Pablo Mamone in presenting the caps and pins to the new inductees, said: “The IRB Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.
“It is particularly pleasing to be able to induct the first women into the IRB Hall of Fame. These six were wonderful players and, in many ways, trail-blazers for the women’s game in their countries and around the world.
“We saw the success of the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year in France and it is doubtful that would have been possible if not for the pioneering spirit of those great players and personalities that went before.
“And the men’s inductions include some of the biggest names in our sport over the past 40 years and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top level rugby over the decades.
“Each of these 15 inductees is a true great in his and her own right and has made a positive impression on the sport that will last the test of time.”