A fast, aggressive winger, John Bentley (aka "Bentos") won just four caps for England, with a nine year gap separating his first two appearances from his last. In between time John had enjoyed a successful career in rugby league and became a dual international by representing Great Britain. Bentley's test career in union began in 1988 against Ireland and he also played in the first test against Australia in the summer. He and Rory Underwood scored breakaway tries to put England into an unexpected 13-3 lead, but the Aussies rallied and eventually won the match 22-16. John did not play in the second test defeat, and after the tour signed up for the rival code.
When Bentley returned to union in 1996 to play for Newcastle, his performances earned him a surprise call up to the British Lions squad to tour South Africa ahead of more established names. He proved to be a wise selection by the Lions management, for not only did Bentley play well on the field, his tremendous personality greatly aided team spirit. An extremely confident man, John was not afraid to take on the great South African winger James Small in the Lions match against Western Province and outscored his illustrious foe by two tries to one. Bentley then had the honour of playing in the Lions 18-15 victory in the second test when Jeremy Guscott's drop goal sealed the match and the series. After the tour, John had no time to put his feet up for he was immediately needed by England for their one off test against Australia in Sydney. England looked a weary side and lost 25-6, but it was a momentous occasion for John as he donned the white jersey for the first time in nine years.
He made one more appearance in a 29-11 defeat by South Africa later in the year before switching back to league again. (Jon Collins)