OFTEN cited as the greatest stand off of all time, John only played 25 Tests for Wales and five for the Lions – but what a career he had.
He started out as a schoolboy playing for local team Cefneithin RFC before switching to Llanelli in 1964. It was while at Llanelli that John was first selected for Wales as a replacement for David Watkins to face a touring Australian team. In 1967 he left Llanelli for Cardiff and formed a partnership with Gareth Edwards that became one of the most famous half-back pairings in world rugby.
In 1971, John was part of the Wales team that won the Five Nations Championship, the first time they had achieved a Grand Slam since 1952. He then cemented his reputation as an all-time great with a pivotal role in the British Lions’ winning tour to New Zealand in 1971.
Now 68, he retired from the game at 27, citing the pressure of fame and expectation.