Vale John Solomon

by Waratahs Media

The Australian Rugby community is in mourning following the passing of 14-Test Wallaby utility back and captain, John Solomon after a protracted battle with illness.

 

The 2016 Hall of Famer was the 38th man to captain the Wallabies and was a part of the side that won the Bledisloe Cup on New Zealand soil in 1949, with Australia defeating the All Blacks in Wellington (11-6) and at Eden Park (16-9).

 

Born and raised in Sydney, Solomon attended The Scots College where he played two seasons in the 1st XV and was selected in the GPS 1st XV before emerging onto Sydney’s club Rugby scene in 1948. 

 

Considered a highly rated talent, Solomon played for Sydney University before being picked at flyhalf for NSW against the inbound Queensland team, where he gave one of the best displays seen since before the outbreak of war. 

 

In the subsequent year, Solomon represented the Australian Universities team that toured New Zealand and from there he was picked to make his Australian debut against a touring New Zealand Maori side in Sydney.

 

He would go on to appear 19 times for NSW between 1948-55, 6 times as captain 1952-55 and also coached the team in 1956.

 

Becoming a regular in the Wallabies side, Solomon was a part of the Australian team that won the first Bledisloe Cup on New Zealand soil in 1949 and would tour New Zealand again in 1952 where Australia won one of the two Test matches. 

 

Again in 1952, Solomon was handed the captaincy of the Wallabies for a Test match against Fiji and for a tour to South Africa where Australia handed South Africa their first defeat at home in 15 years.

 

Such was the respect given to the visiting Wallabies and to Solomon, the man himself was chaired from the field on the shoulders of Springboks Chris Koch and Ernst Dinkelmann to the applause of the Cape Town crowd. The image captured is one of the most iconic in Australian Rugby history.

 

After this tour Solomon took a break from the game to focus on his medical studies before returning to playing in 1955.

 

Solomon will be forever Wallaby number 366.