Position: Back Row
|Date Of Birth||30/06/1933 (85)|
|Place Of Birth||Morriston|
|Height||183cm / 6'|
|Weight||95kg / 14st 13lbs|
Born on 30 June 1933, John Faull was a Morriston man and achieved great success both with Wales and the British & Irish Lions. But at St Helen’s he is perhaps best known for an achievement at the very start of his career with Swansea. John had attended and played for Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire and then served his National Service in the Royal Navy. At the start of his Swansea debut season in 1953-54 John had only two games for the club under his belt; against Pontypool where he was played at full-back and against British Police where he was moved to centre, a position he was preferred in for the rest of the season. Both games were at St Helen’s and were lost.
His third outing for the club was in the historic 6 – 6 draw with New Zealand on 12 December 1953 at St Helen’s. He was again selected at centre when Terry Davies had to withdraw, Wyn Bratton moving to full-back. The controversial selection of the 20 year old Faull was more than justified. At six foot three and nearly fifteen stone, he was a handful of a player who would normally be a back row natural, but he possessed speed and had a good kicking game as well as sound tackling. John Faull was put in Swansea’s three-quarter line to disrupt the All Blacks’ game plan and he more than played his part. Early in the first half Swansea were awarded a penalty and skipper Dil Johnson asked Faull to have a go, despite the position being virtually on the half-way line. Swansea and Wales wing Horace Phillips played in the match and later recalled: “I well remember the occasion as I was stood directly behind John as he took the kick. I knew immediately that the kick was successful as there was a distinct singing sound as the boot struck the leather. The ball sailed between the posts. This was followed by two tries by Alan Elsom [New Zealand]. Before half-time Swansea were awarded another penalty in almost the same position as the first. This again was successful and the first half came to an end with the scores ties at six points each. In the second-half Swansea defended their line tenaciously and forced the All Blacks to attempt drop-goals, none of which were successful and the match ended in a draw.”
Two huge penalties from Faull’s ‘siege gun’ boot had helped write another famous chapter in Swansea rugby to add to the 1935 win over the New Zealand tourists. John made 20 appearances at centre for Swansea that season before being moved to a more conventional No8 position the following season. There he remained as an extremely mobile back rower with always the threat of a long range points kicker. John Faull remained a regular first fifteen selection from 1953-54 till 1962-63, playing 211 matches (21 tries, 61 conversions, 57 penalties and 1 drop goal). As a respected senior player John captained the “All Whites” for 1962-63. He added to his New Zealand appearance by completing ‘the set’, playing for Swansea against Australia in 1957 (lost 6 – 12) and South Africa in 1960 (lost 3 – 19).
John Faull’s international career took off in 1957 when he won the first of 12 Welsh caps in the Cardiff mud against Ireland. It was a game Wales won 6 – 5 but had to change jerseys at half-time as no one could be identified for the mud clinging to them. John played against Ireland again in 1958 and 1959; France in 1957, 1958 and 1959; Australia in 1958; Scotland in 1958 and 1959 and England in 1958, 1959, and 1960.
Faull’s consistent selection for Wales - he missed just one of the nine Welsh games after his Ireland debut - saw his inclusion in the 1959 British & Irish tour to Australia and New Zealand. He played in the first test against Australia and three of the four Tests in New Zealand including the final Test where the ‘Lions’ won 9 - 6, making 20 appearances all together on the tour. His selection was well justified and his style of play well suited to the southern hemisphere game, where he turned out at No8 and was utilised as a goal kicker, scoring 60 points on the tour, including a brace of tries in the opening game against New South Wales.
John also was selected for Barbarian teams three times, including an 11 – 6 win over Australia in 1958, the third time he lined up against that touring side and second win! He played in the Welsh side against an International XV in Cardiff in the Empire games to raise money for the Commonwealth Games in 1958. He also had the honour of playing for the England/Wales team against Scotland/Ireland in the Twickenham Jubilee match in 1959. Both those jerseys remain on display at St Helen’s, along with his ‘Lions’ jersey from 1959, a testament to a great all round player.
John Faull worked in the steel industry, becoming a company director. His father Wilfred Faull had been an international referee in two matches in 1936. John was a long-time member of the All Whites Former Players’ Association and had attended their Annual Dinners but had been ill for some time before his passing on 21 June 2017.
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