John Paul Welborn
- 731Wallaby Number
John Welborn, a non-nonsense, hard-nosed lock, was not - contrary to some press reports of his day - Western Australia’s first born and bred Wallaby. In fact several Sandgropers, including Walter Cobb, Harry Woods, Jack Steggall and Mick Mathers, had each represented Australia prior to Welborn’s deeds in the 1990s.
Born in Perth and educated at Scotch College, Welborn represented his state at both U19 and U21 levels and from there was rewarded for some outstanding rugby with selection in the Australian U21s.
In 1993, Welborn headed to Sydney where he linked up with the Eastern Suburbs club and a year later debuted for New South Wales against Canterbury. Two years on he was remarkably plucked from club football to make his Test debut against South Africa in Bloemfontein. In 1999, Welborn played three Tests in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup but cruelly missed selection to the tournament.
John Welborn played six Tests for Australia in his four year international career.
Represented Australian U21s
Welborn won his first Test cap in the run-on XV alongside John Eales in the 19-25, 2nd Test loss to South Africa in Bloemfontein. He picked up a second cap on the end-of-season tour when he again partnered with Eales in the 40-18 win over Italy in Padova.
He won a single cap in the 74-0, Rugby World Cup qualifier defeat of Tonga in Canberra as the pairing of Eales and Tom Bowman started 12 of Australia’s 13 Tests.
Welborn earned his final three caps in the Centenary Test against England and the opening two internationals of the Tri Nations.