John Hayes (rugby union)

John Hayes
John Hayes (Green far left).
Full name John James Hayes
Date of birth (1973-11-02) 2 November 1973
Place of birth Dromsally, Cappamore, Co. Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 20 st 2lbs (128 kg)
Notable relative(s) Tommy Hayes (Brother)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Prop
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Marist (Invercargill)
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1998–2011 Munster 217 (20)
correct as of 27 Dec 2011.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2005, 2009
correct as of 7 Aug 2011.

John Hayes (born 2 November 1973) is a retired Irish rugby union player who played in the Pro 12 and Heineken Cup for Munster. He didn't start playing rugby until he was 18; prior to this he played with the local Cappamore GAA club. It was his size (6 ft 4 in, 19 stone) that enabled him to overcome his late start to the sport. He continues to "follow GAA in Limerick very much and especially hurling".[1]

He first played rugby as a wing forward in a Munster Junior League match for Bruff R.F.C. against Newcastle West R.F.C.


Hayes was introduced to the game of rugby union by friends when he joined the local Rugby Club, Bruff R.F.C. based in County Limerick. He then moved up a grade when he joined Shannon R.F.C. before travelling to Invercargill, New Zealand. During his stay in Invercargill, he changed position from Second Row to Prop Forward because he had "bulked up". On his return, he rejoined Shannon R.F.C. and gained his place on the Munster squad. He later rejoined his original club, Bruff RFC, when they joined the AIL as a senior club in 2004.

In September 2012, he released his autobiography The Bull: My Story, which details his sporting life. On 5 October 2012, he appeared as a guest on the Late Late Show alongside his wife to talk about his career.


In 2006, he helped Munster win the Heineken European Cup in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 21 May against Biarritz. Earlier that year, he had helped Ireland secure the Triple Crown.

In 2008, he again helped Munster win the Heineken European Cup in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 24 May against Toulouse.[2]

He became the fifth Munster player to win 200 caps in the Magners League semi-final against Ospreys on 14 May 2011. In July 2011, Hayes was left out the 45-man Munster squad for the forthcoming season fuelling speculation that he may retire after the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[3]

Despite the speculation that Hayes would retire, he came off the bench for Munster in their opening RaboDirect Pro12 match against Newport Gwent Dragons in September 2011. Hayes was contracted with Munster until the end of 2011.

Hayes became the first person to play 100 Heineken Cup games in November 2011 when he came on against Northampton Saints in the 2011–12 Heineken Cup.[4][5]

It was announced that Hayes would retire after Munster's RaboDirect Pro12 fixture against Connacht on 26 December 2011.[6] He was selected to start his final match,[7][8] and was substituted in the 58th minute, going off the pitch to a huge standing ovation from the crowd. Munster won the match 24–9.[9][10]


Hayes won his first International cap against Scotland in 2000 and was Ireland's first-choice tighthead prop from then until the beginning of the 2010–11 season when he was replaced by Leinster's inform Mike Ross. He was a member of the British and Irish Lions squad in their tour to New Zealand in 2005 and played in the warm up test match vs Argentina.

Hayes became Ireland's most capped player during Ireland's first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2009 with 94 appearances.[11]

He earned his 100th cap for Ireland against England on 27 February 2010.[12] He was the first Irish player to do so.[13] Hayes lead Ireland out onto the pitch before the game to a standing ovation from the Twickenham crowd. Ireland went on to win the game 20–16 with a late try by Tommy Bowe. Hayes did not play against the Barbarians in Ireland's first match of the Summer Tests, and missed the Test against New Zealand through illness. He came on as a replacement against New Zealand Maori but was left out of the squad to play Australia, thereby losing his title of Ireland's most capped player to Brian O'Driscoll.[14]

He was selected in Ireland's training squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-ups in August,[15] and came off the bench in Ireland's first warm-up against Scotland.[16] This turned out to be his last appearance for Ireland, as Hayes was not selected in Ireland's final 30-man squad for the tournament in New Zealand and he retired in December 2011.

2009 Lions Tour

On 18 June 2009, Hayes was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad in South Africa as a replacement for the injured Euan Murray. He played in the final test match of the tour.[17]





  2. "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  3. "Hayes absence from Munster squad signals end of road for Red legend". Irish Independent. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  4. "Dropgoal Seals It". 12 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  5. "A Day of Firsts". 14 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  6. "Hayes Packs Kilballyowen". 22 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  7. "Changes Rung For Rabo Resumption". 22 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  8. "Time To Say Goodbye". 26 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  9. "Munster Give Hayes A Winning Send Off". 26 December 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  10. "Youngsters Impress As Oldster Departs". 27 December 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  11. "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  12. "Long way from there to here". Irish Times. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  13. "Humble Hayes embarrassed by 'fuss'". RTÉ. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  14. Cleary, Mick (1 March 2010). "England 16 Ireland 20: match report". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  15. "Ireland Training Squad Is Announced". 17 June 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  16. "Ireland Can Draw Encouragement From First Outing". 6 August 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  17. "Hayes called up into Lions squad". BBC Sport. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.

External links

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