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Ex-Wallabies skipper John Solomon dies at age 90

March 18, 2020 GMT

SYDNEY (AP) — John Solomon, a utility back who was part of Australia’s first Bledisloe Cup series win on New Zealand soil in 1949 and who also led the Wallabies to a drought-breaking test win over the Springboks in South Africa in 1953, has died after a long illness. He was 90.

Rugby Australian Rugby paid tribute to Solomon on Wednesday. A talented flyhalf, center and outside back, Solomon was inducted into the Australian rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

He played 14 tests between 1949 and 1955 in an era when foreign tours often involved dozens of non-capped games, before studying medicine in Sydney.

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Solomon played on the wing and scored a try in the 16-9 win over the All Blacks in Auckland in 1949, when Australia also won in Wellington to secure the trans-Tasman in New Zealand.

His first test as captain was against Fiji in 1952 and his most memorable was the following year when he led the Wallabies from the centers to a comeback 18-14 win at Cape Town, handing the Springboks their first loss on home soil since 1938.

In a tribute, Rugby Australia said: “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.”

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