November 28, 2021

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When rugby stars' prank went horribly wrong

3 min read
The Queensland Reds' colourful championship celebrations rekindled memories of the time two cheeky Brumbies stars...

The Queensland Reds' colourful championship celebrations rekindled memories of the time two cheeky Brumbies stars "nearly ended the greatest Wallabies career ever."

In the latest 'Tall Tales with Goog' segment on Stan Sport's Rugby Heaven, former Test lock Justin Harrison hilariously took us inside the Brumbies' post-match party after beating the Sharks in the 2001 Super Rugby final.

While enjoying some Sunday "rehydration drinks" in Canberra, Harrison and Jeremy Paul decided to duck away and ring some Brumbies teammates from a "disguised number."

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"And impersonate (then Test coach) Rod Macqueen, telling them 'congratulations, you've been selected in the Wallabies' – and watching some of the fallout," Harrison explained.

"It was quite amusing for a while, then it sort of ran its course a bit and a couple of blokes started calling their parents and telling them. I thought 'it's getting a bit out of hand now, let's call it quits and knock it on the head'."

Probably a good idea.

So Harrison and Paul rejoin the title-winning "throng of energy" and pull up a pew next to George Smith, then a fresh faced 20-year-old star on the rise.

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Then, drama.

"Georgie Smith's Nokia 10 brick, '96, rings, he picks it up," Harrison said.

"Answers it, 'yeah man, yeah man.' And then we hear him just unleash this tirade, basically telling whoever this person was on the other end of the line, where they could go and how quickly they could get there.

"And then hung up and said 'yeah man, not going to get me.' And so I'm looking at JP, he's looking at me, we were the blokes that were doing the phone calls. So we're like 'yeah… well done Georgie'…"

After that hiccup the Sunday session continues apace and the Brumbies dust themselves off on Monday for an end of season team meeting.

But after congratulating the players on their achievement, Brumbies manager Phil Thomson addresses the club's star young flanker.

Here's Harrison's recollection of the exchange.

Thomson: "George Smith – I think that you should ring Rod Macqueen."

Smith: "Why's that man?"

Thomson: "Well, he rung you yesterday to tell you you were in the Wallabies squad and you were less than cordial with him."

Smith: "Oh man, I'm sorry man, I'll ring him straight away."

Thomson: "Well, you should probably call his wife because he was on speakerphone in the car on the way back from Canberra."

"And so that was the end of the phone prank calling stuff," Harrison mused.

"That's what we did with phones back then – instead of Instagram."

Thankfully for Australian rugby, Macqueen was forgiving.

"You nearly ended the greatest Wallabies career ever, before it even started," Stan Sport's Morgan Turinui pointed out.

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