John ‘The Bull’ Hayes has been an almost constant presence in the Ireland pack since his first cap against Scotland in February 2000. A latecomer to the game – he first lined out as a flanker for local club Bruff at the age of 18, but spells with Shannon and Invercargill in New Zealand helped mould him into a prop.
Educated at Doon CBS, Hayes was called into the Ireland squad for the summer tour to South Africa, after helping Shannon to the 1998 AIB League Division One title. However, the Limerick native had to wait until 2000 to make his debut. Hayes started all ten of Ireland’s internationals in the Triple Crown-winning year of 2004. The 2004/05 season saw him score his second Test try against Scotland and earn a call-up for the Lions.
A veritable rock in the Irish scrum and lineout, the teak-tough tighthead played in all 19 of Ireland’s Test matches prior to the recent summer tour to Argentina.
‘The Bull’ beat Phil Orr’s long-standing record (58 caps) as Ireland’s most-capped prop by starting against Italy, France, Wales, Scotland and England in the 2006 Six Nations – winning his 60th cap against Wales. He since went to be capped 105 times in total.
John retired from all rugby at thee and of the 2011 season having represented Munster 217 times and is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest and most honourable professionals to ever have worn the green for Ireland.