Former England hooker and captain John Pullin dies aged 79

Pullin scored 11 tries in 298 appearances for Bristol before hanging up his boots in 1978

Former England rugby captain John Pullin took the team to Ireland in 1973 during the Troubles.

Former England rugby captain John Pullin took the team to Ireland in 1973 during the Troubles.

 

Former England hooker John Pullin, the first captain of a European side to beat New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, has died at the age of 79, the Rugby Football Union said on Friday.

Pullin earned 42 England caps between 1966 and 1976, and seven for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand and South Africa.

He was also the England skipper who took the team to Ireland in 1973, a year after both Wales and Scotland declined to play their Five Nations fixtures in Dublin against the backdrop of the Troubles.

Despite a poor performance, resulting in an 18-9 loss, England received a prolonged and moving ovation at Lansdowne Road.

“We’re not much good but at least we turned up,” Pullin famously quipped at a post-match dinner.

A farmer throughout his working life, Pullin also scored 11 tries in 298 appearances for Bristol before hanging up his boots in 1978.

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