John Hayes became the first Ireland rugby national team player to earn his 100th cap when he marched on the field to take on England on this day in rugby history in 2010. The accomplishment was especially impressive considering Hayes played tight head prop.
Hayes led the team out on the rugby pitch that day to a standing ovation from the Twickenham crowd. Ireland won the game 20-16 on a late try from Tommy Bowe.
Hayes earned his first cap in 2000 and established himself as the regular at his position. He played in an amazing 52 consecutive Six Nations matches during his career.
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“Knowing John he probably won’t read anything about himself before or after Saturday, and even if he does he will be embarrassed by it,” explained Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll. “It would embarrass him to know that we are even talking about him but John Hayes is a great character, the type of guy you would want on your team week in and week out. There is nothing blasé about him, he just rolls his sleeves up and he gets on with his work. He is just very understated and a great guy to have in your squad.”
Despite his nickname of ‘the Bull,’ Hayes was always very low key and considered one of the most honest and professional player for club and country. He played his entire club career with Munster.
“To get 100 caps in that one position would be phenomenal and a great, great thing,” added O’Driscoll.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney added; “Em -- that’s probably the answer John would like me too give! I don’t know. I am not sure what to say because he is like that. He is a very private man but he enjoys his rugby. He loves it. He can just turn out wearing a t-shirt and shorts when everyone else is wearing tracksuits and tops. He is just a man’s man.”
Hayes made his last appearance for Ireland in a warm-up match for the 2011 Rugby World Cup against Scotland. He was not selected for the team that traveled to New Zealand and retired in December of 2011.