Keith Wood

For the atheism activist, see Keith Porteous Wood.
Keith Wood
Full name Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood
Date of birth (1972-01-27) 27 January 1972
Place of birth Killaloe, Co. Clare, Ireland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 16 st 10 lb (106 kg)
School St. Munchin's College
Notable relative(s) Gordon Wood (father)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Hooker
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1995-99, 01-02
(48) 9t
(25) 5t
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1997, 2001
(75) 15t
correct as of 22 Jun 2011.

Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood (born 27 January 1972) is a former international rugby union footballer who played hooker for Ireland, the Lions, Garryowen, Harlequins and Munster. He was nicknamed 'The Raging Potato' because of his bald head. He was also known as 'Uncle Fester' due to his resemblance to a character in The Addams Family.[1]

Early life

Wood was born in Killaloe, County Clare, and educated at St Munchin's College, Limerick. His father, Gordon Wood, played prop 29 times for Ireland.


He started his career with Garryowen who he helped to All Ireland titles in 1992 and 1994 before moving to Harlequins. He returned to play with Munster Rugby in the 1999–2000 season and played in the European Rugby Cup final that Munster Rugby lost to Northampton Saints 9-8 in Twickenham Stadium before returning to Harlequins. Wood made his international debut in 1994 against Australia. He was capped 58 times for Ireland and five times for the Lions. Never the most accurate player in the set piece his real strength was in leadership and open play where he dominated the world XV's hooker spot. He played on the 1997 and 2001 Lions tours, and was the inaugural winner of the IRB World Player of the Year award in 2001. He played a part in the Lions' 2-1 series victory over the Springboks in 1997. Wood captained Ireland. He was followed as Ireland captain by Brian O'Driscoll. Wood retired from playing after the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

In 2005 the Munster Rugby player was inducted into the Rugby Hall of fame. He currently holds a world record of 15 full international test tries scored by a hooker, previously held by Sean Fitzpatrick (12) of the New Zealand All Blacks.

Wood used to play hurling, and was a member of the Clare GAA side that played in the inaugural Nenagh Co-op hurling tournament in 1988. He scored 4 tries in one game in the 1999 World Cup, in the pool stage against the USA. Ireland were later eliminated from the tournament when they lost to Argentina in the quarter-final play-off.

Wood now works for the BBC and The Daily Telegraph as a freelance journalist. In 2014, Wood was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.[2]


  1. "The Claw ready to tackle Uncle Fester". Evening Standard. 4 October 2001. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. "Keith Wood inducted into IRB Hall of Fame". The Score. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jim Staples
Ireland Rugby Union Captain
1997 - 2003
Succeeded by
Brian O'Driscoll
New title IRB International Player of the Year
Succeeded by
France Fabien Galthié
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