World Rugby Hall of Fame – Induction No.107 – Barry John (Wales, British and Irish Lions, Llanelli, Cardiff) 1945-
Born: 6 January, 1945 in Cefneithin, Wales
Regarded as rugby’s first real superstar, Barry John had everything in his game: the ability to kick off either foot, intuition, great hands and a mesmerising side-step that regularly left would-be tacklers clutching at thin air.
Three years after making a try-scoring debut for Llanelli in 1964, John headed to Cardiff where he played 93 matches and scored 359 points for the capital club. While with the Blues and Blacks he teamed up with Gareth Edwards in what was to become one of the most celebrated partnerships in world rugby.
John won 25 caps for his country and five for the Lions – one in South Africa in 1968 and four in New Zealand three years later. He more than made up for the disappointment of having his first tour cut short because of a broken collarbone by playing a starring role in New Zealand, where he played in 17 of the 26 matches and earned the nickname ‘The King’.
Tired of the fame that came with such lofty status, John shocked the sporting world when he decided to retire from rugby at the age of 27.