Book John Bentley

Rugby legend John Bentley (known as Bentos) was born in Yorkshire in 1966. He originally trained as a policeman, but eventually decided to become a professional rugby player. A fast and aggressive winger, he played both rugby league and rugby union. He won a total of four caps for England between the years of 1988 and 1997 – a nine year gap separating his earlier appearances from the later ones! He made his final appearance (for England) at Twickenham in 1997 against South Africa. In the intervening years he had a successful career in rugby league. He switched back to union in 1996 when the sport became professional.

Playing Career

John started out at his local club Cleckheaton where he was a youth player. He subsequently moved to Otley and Sale where he earned the first two of his caps for the national team.


In 1988, at the age of twenty one, John made his debut for England in a match against Ireland. He also played in the first test against Australia on the summer tour. John and team-mate Rory Underwood put England in the lead, but unfortunately Australia went on to win the game. At the time rugby union was an amateur only sport and, as a result, he made the decision to switch to rugby league (after the tour) and become a professional.


He joined Leeds Rugby League Football Club in 1988 and in 1992 he became a dual international when he played for Great Britain at league. Following his time at Leeds, he went on to play league for Halifax and he also had a brief spell wth an Australian team (the Balmain Tigers).


In 1996 he returned to union (it had since become professional) and joined second division side Newcastle Falcons. His time with Newcastle was highly successful and he was instrumental in their Premiership victory of 1997-1998.


In recognition of his talents, he was selected in 1997 for the British Lions where he played a key role in their test success in South Africa. After the tour he played his final two games for England before once again switching – this time back to league when he joined Huddersfield Giants.

Post Rugby

John is involved in charity work and is an honorary president of the Yorkshire region of the children’s charity ‘Wooden Spoon’. This charity was set up in 1983 to improve the lives of disadvantaged children throughout the country.


One of an elite body of players to have gained international honours in both rugby union and league, John is a familiar face on the after dinner speaking circuit. An entertaining and motivational speaker, he is available for events all over the United Kingdom.