John Bentley

John Bentley

Dewsbury-born Bentley was a key figure in the Lions 2-1 Test success in South Africa in 1997 and is one of the elite body of players to have gained international honours in both Rugby Union and League.

The winger/centre started his rugby career with Sale Rugby Union club, earning two England caps; a game at Lansdowne Road was followed up with a Test in Australia against the Wallabies – in which he scored, before the powerful Yorkshire man switched codes to Rugby League, becoming one of the top names in the game with Leeds and Halifax.

 

 While in League, Bentley gained caps for Great Britain and for England, being lured back to Union with Newcastle Falcons, who went on to win the 1997-98 Premiership title, and his instant impact saw him selected for the Lions squad to tour South Africa in 1997.

Starring for the midweek side initially, Bentley scored one of the great Lions tries against Gauteng, running virtually the full length of the field weaving his way past a number of players.
 

One of the characters of the side, his prowess as a dirt-tracker saw him called in to the side for the decisive second Test, as well as the third and final game in Johannesburg. With a 2-1 series win under his belt he returned to club rugby in England which saw his Newcastle side crowned champions of England in 1997/98.
Since retiring from top flight rugby, Bentley has become a familiar face on the after dinner circuit and has also worked in the business world with motivational speeches that reflect his passion for rugby and life.