John Anthony Gallagher

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John Gallagher
Date of birth (1964-01-29) 29 January 1964 (age 50)
Place of birth Lewisham, London, England
Height 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
School St Joseph's Academy, Blackheath
St. Saviours RC Lewisham (Primary)
Rugby league career
Position Fullback
Professional clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
London Crusaders
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Marist Saint Patricks
Oriental Rongotai
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1986-89 New Zealand 41 (251)

John Anthony Gallagher (born (1964-01-29) 29 January 1964 (age 50) in Lewisham) is an English rugby union and professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s and '90s, playing representative level rugby union (RU) for New Zealand, and at provincial level for Marist Saint Patricks, Wellington, and Oriental Rongotai, as a Centre, or Fullback, and playing club level rugby league (RL) for Leeds, and the London Crusaders, as a Fullback.

In 1990, Gallagher was one of the first of a succession of All Blacks to switch codes to rugby league, following from his understudy Matthew Ridge, who signed with the NSWRL's Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles only a week before. Other All Blacks who followed soon after were Frano Botica (Wigan) and John Schuster (Newcastle Knights).

Gallagher was initially signed by David Ward for Leeds RLFC. While he was considered one of the fastest players over 30m when he switched to league, and this was put to good early use by Leeds, he was targeted by opposition players in defense and was badly injured in an alleged spear tackle. He may also have found the tactical differences between the two codes difficult to adjust to, particularly in his favoured full-back position and the move was unsuccessful. Perhaps his finest moment for Leeds came in a match against Australia during the Australian teams 1990 Kangaroo tour when he scored the opening try of the game at Headingley Stadium. Unfortunately though, Gallagher's defense came into question later in that game when giant Kangaroo second rower Paul Sironen scored two tries, both times running over the top of him.

Gallagher found greater success in the less rarefied atmosphere of playing for the club then known as London Crusaders, where his reliable kicking and astute play made a significant contribution over several seasons.

Gallagher continued to play rugby union semi-professionally at Blackheath, but he also took up teaching, becoming headteacher at Colfe's Preparatory School in South-East London.


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