|Date of Birth:||06/01/1945|
|Place of Birth:||Cefneithin|
During a playing career that was not
without its setbacks, he became the fly-half who was the true pivot:
he learnt to exercise his options in an almost faultless manner, his
kicking skills being balanced by instinctive running and subtle
changes of pace. He stood at the end of Gareth Edwards’ enormous
pass and would take the ball early or late, planting doubt in his
markers who came to regard him as an almost untouchable ghost.
Barry had played international rugby for two years before he tasted the first real success. The Welsh team of 1967 and 1968 lost more games than they won, and his first Lions tour, to South Africa, ended with a broken shoulder in the first test. By the following year, however, he was part of a national XV that was winning Triple Crowns and Championships. The final 18 months of his extraordinary career were ones of unremitting success. In that time, Barry John was fly-half in a Welsh team that won all seven of its international matches in Europe and a Lions’ team that won a Test series in New Zealand for the first time. Amazingly, it was not until January 1971 that he started taking goal kicks in international rugby. By July of that year, he had kicked 20 of his first 24 conversion attempts in New Zealand and came back from the tour with an unprecedented 188 points in all matches.
The player who had started his career as a kicker was to produce a series of distinctive, almost supernatural tries in his final 12 months. In Wellington on the '71 Lionis tour, opponents and spectators looked on in silent disbelief as a fly-half they thought was about to drop a goal dummied and drifted one way and then the other before putting the ball down behind the posts. The King was at the height of his powers.
|In a match in Paris of the highest quality to decide the 1971 Grand Slam, an unexpected heel against the head gave him the opportunity to slip through the French midfield and touch down unopposed.|
|At the peak of his considerable powers at the age of 27, John decided he was fed up with 'living in a goldfish bowl' and quit the game, thus shocking the Welsh public.|