53 Facts About Barry John


Barry John was born on 6 January 1945 and is a former Welsh rugby union fly-half who played, during the amateur era of the sport, in the 1960s, and early 1970s.


In 1967 Barry John left Llanelli RFC for Cardiff RFC and here he formed a partnership with Gareth Edwards that became one of the most famous half-back pairings in world rugby.


Barry John was part of the team that won the 1971 Five Nations Championship, the first time Wales had achieved a Grand Slam win since 1952.


Barry John then cemented his reputation as one of the sport's greatest players with his pivotal role in the British Lions winning tour over New Zealand in 1971.


Barry John retired from rugby at the age of 27, as Wales highest points scorer, citing the pressure of fame and expectation behind his decision.


Barry John attended Cefenithin Primary, and there he was fortunate to receive skilled rugby teaching.


Barry John once played a game for rival team Pontyberem while still a schoolboy, but John recalls in his autobiography that the local resentment at making such a sporting faux pas ensured he never did so again.

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Barry John continued to represent Llanelli while at Trinity College, Carmarthen, and gained a reputation as a kicking fly-half with a penchant for putting over dropped goals.


Barry John almost missed the second away encounter of the season with Swansea when he was 'held to ransom' by his fellow students at Trinity College.


Barry John was only released when Llanelli's club chairman, Elvet Jones, promised to make a donation to the college "rag".


Llanelli won all four fixtures against Swansea that season, Barry John scoring in all of them.


In 1966, Barry John was awarded his first international cap for Wales, taking Watkins' place at fly-half for the match against the touring Australia team.


Barry John himself scored a try, and then added to his tally with a dropped goal.


Barry John played badly while carrying a leg injury, and the next match he was dropped, replaced by the more experienced Watkins.


Edwards, like Barry John, had two international games to his name, paired with Watkins in the final two matches of the 1967 Five Nations Championship.


Just over a month after playing for Wales against New Zealand, Barry John faced the tourists again, this time as part of an East Wales team, made up of players from Cardiff, London Welsh and Bridgend.


The New Zealand 'All Blacks' were under pressure throughout the match, with Barry John kicking from deep and away from the opposing forwards, allowing his team to make rushes on the 'All Black' defence.


At club level, Barry John finished the season with a total of nine tries and nine dropped goals for Cardiff.


Barry John was selected for the British Lions in their tour of South Africa in 1968, but played in just four games before an injury forced him to return home.


Barry John played in three matches against district teams, Western Province, South Western Districts and Natal, all wins for the tourists.


Barry John was then selected for the First Test, played at Johannesburg, against the South Africa national team.


Barry John scored his first international try in the encounter after charging down a kick and dummying his way over.


The England decider is best remembered for Maurice Richards' four tries, but Barry John too was on the scoresheet with a dropped goal and a try of his own.


Barry John was unavailable for the encounter having fractured a rib while playing for the Barbarians against an Oxford University Past and Present eleven days earlier.


Barry John scored one of the tries along with a dropped goal.

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Barry John was unavailable for the final game of the tournament to France, his place taken by Phil Bennett.


Barry John scored eight of Wales' points, with a try, penalty goal and a conversion; missing only his trademark drop goal to complete a full house of scores.


Edwards and Barry John scored all the points in the encounter, Edwards with a try, Barry John a try and a penalty goal.


In 1971, on their tour of New Zealand, Barry John was again selected for the British Lions.


Under the management of Doug Smith and the coaching of Carwyn James, Barry John rose to great individual heights with his match-winning performances.


All six games had been won by the Lions and Barry John had recorded 88 points, including a full house against Waikato.


The All Blacks were shunted all over the field by Barry John, who was well protected by his forwards, something that he was not afforded with Wales in 1969.


Barry John dummied a drop-goal before running through the Universities' defence, stepping inside the final tackler before touching the ball down under the posts, stunning the home crowd.


Barry John scored eight of the Lions points, having scored in every match, Test and regional, he had played in.


In 1972, at the age of only 27, with 25 Wales caps and five British Lions caps, Barry John retired from the game.


Barry John cited the media attention and the unfair expectations of his country as reasons, believing he was "living in a goldfish bowl".


Barry John's dropped goal total for Cardiff was the club's second highest total, drawn with Wilf Wooller but short of Percy Bush's tally of 35.


Barry John was the dragonfly on the anvil of destruction.


Barry John's opponents ran into the glass walls which covered his escape routes from their bewildered clutches.


Barry John had this marvellous easiness in the mind, reducing problems to their simplest form, backing his own talent all the time.


Barry John came third in the 1971 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, beaten by winner Princess Anne and runner-up George Best.


Barry John was one of the inaugural inductees of the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 1999 was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.


Barry John was never charged with taking illegal payments during his career.


Barry John was the second child of William and Vimy John, his brother Delville was three years his senior.


Barry John had a further four siblings, Alan, Clive, Madora and Diane.

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Barry John left Trinity in the summer of 1967, and took up a post as a physical education teacher at Monkton House School in Cardiff, a private school for boys between the ages of eight and sixteen.


Barry John moved to Cardiff and shared a house with several other rugby players, including former Llanelli team mate Gerald Davies.


Barry John quit his position at Monkton House when he toured South Africa in 1968 and never taught again.


On his return from Africa, Barry John moved back to his family home at Cefneithin.


FC Following an interview with David Coleman for the BBC programme, Sportsnight, in which his jobless situation was discussed, Barry John was offered a job working for Forward Trust, a finance company in Cardiff.


When Barry John quit playing rugby in 1972 he left his job as a finance representative, signing a contract to write a weekly column and cover important matches for the Daily Express.


Barry John was signed to take part in sport programmes presented by HTV, the Wales and West of England commercial television company.


In September 1969, Barry John married Janet Talfan Davies, daughter of Alun Talfan Davies QC, a leading Welsh lawyer.