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Sincere thanks to David Gronow for permission to publish the following article and photographs.

John Henry Rogers was born in Abergwynd during October 1892 and later lived in Tondu, located about three miles north of Bridgend, South Wales.

That other son of Bridgend, Ben Gronow, was closely linked with Rogers and the pair would become members of the ‘Team of All Talents’ that would sweep all before them between 1911 and 1922.

The story of Ben Gronow’s first connection with Johnny Rogers is related in the benefit brochure for Ben published in 1924:
‘While at Bridgend, Gronow, not satisfied with Saturday matches, played on Wednesdays also.'

It was in one of these latter games that he first came across Johnny Rogers, then a midget of fourteen, and was generally struck by his play.

Shortly afterwards, when dressing for a match at Bridgend, he was told that one of their wing three-quarters  could not play.

Happening to look out of the window he saw Johnny amongst the small crowd of enthusiasts who were waiting to watch the team go down to the field.

Ben sent for Johnny and asked him if he would fill the vacant place.

Johnny nearly collapsed with astonishment, but when he recovered jumped at the chance.

The next difficulty was to find clothes and boots small enough.

One wag threw Johnny a pair of boots belonging to the nineteen-stone man, Griffiths.

Eventually suitable raiment was unearthed, and though the fourteen-year old was all but lost to sight on the field, he played so well that he was afterwards selected as first reserve among the backs.

He had to wait some weeks ere his chance came.

Then he deputised for one of the halves and to such purpose  that the man for whom he played understudy never got back, and Rogers commenced on an uninterrupted partnership with Clem Lewis (winner of eleven Welsh caps and a great stand-off) which continued , first with Bridgend and then with Cardiff, until he came to Huddersfield.’

Rogers moved from Bridgend to join Cardiff in season 1911/12, and according to club records made 35 first team appearances before going north.

Johnny Rogers signed for Huddersfield on 1 March 1913, playing his first game the same day.

Although completely mystified by much of what went on in the game against Bramley at Fartown that day, Huddersfield officials, spectators and players knew that at £100 the club had a rare bargain.

Huddersfield beat Bramley 73-5 and Rogers had an easy introduction to his new code, announcing his intent with three tries and a goal.

Rogers was twenty years of age when Huddersfield signed him, he had a puzzling swerve and was exceptionally quick off the mark, his dashes taking defences by surprise.

In season 1913/14, Tommy Grey, Huddersfield’s incumbent half back, was replaced by Rogers, who opened the season by kicking nine goals in a 54-5 win at York on 6 September, ending the season with 20 tries and 27 goals from 41 appearances.

On 29 November 1913 he won his first medal with Huddersfield as the Fartowners came out on top 19-3 in the Yorkshire Cup Final against Bradford Northern at Halifax - in total he played in five Yorkshire Cup Finals (four won).

For Rogers the season held his first Welsh RL cap (gaining three in all) against England at St Helens on 14 February 1914, and was climaxed by his selection for the Australasian Tour of 1914, along with team-mates Wagstaff, Clark, Chilcott and Fred Longstaff.

Huddersfield reached unparallel heights of brilliance in 1914-15; only two games were lost out of 34 with Huddersfield finishing in their accustomed place at the head of the table.

Twenty-four games were played in the Yorkshire League, none of which were lost although four were drawn and the title went to the Fartowners for the fourth time in as many years.

The Championship Final with Leeds at Belle Vue, Wakefield was a one-sided affair as the Loiners were crushed 35-2, Rogers scoring a try.

On 1 May 1915 at Oldham in the Challenge Cup Final, Huddersfield swept aside St Helens recording the biggest winning margin in Cup Final history 37-3, Rogers kept up his record with his third try in as many finals.

Thus ‘All Four Cups’ were won, emulating the feat of Hunslet in 1907-08.

When competitive rugby returned after the horror of the Great War, Huddersfield carried on where they had left off winning everything except the Championship which was conceded to Hull 3-2 in 1920, albeit with Rogers, Gronow, Wagstaff, Clark and Gwyn Thomas all en-route for the Antipodes.

The 1920 Tour turned was curtailed for Rogers when he had the misfortune to fracture his left leg at Auckland on 24 July which kept him out of football until 15 January 1921, when he re-appeared against Keighley at Fartown - in total, Rogers made seven Test appearances.

He also went on to represent Other Nationalities against England in February 1921.

Rogers played in two winning Northern Union Challenge Cup finals for Huddersfield (1914 and 1920 against St Helens and Wigan respectively), and the three League Championship finals of 1914 (Salford 5 Huddersfield 3), 1915 (Huddersfield 35 Leeds 2) and 1923 (Hull KR 15 Huddersfield 5).

Harold Wagstaff, writing in The Sports Post, March 1935, quoted:
‘Often I have marvelled at the way in which Johnny Rogers, the fastest of attacking scrum halves the rugby game has known, worked when he was in our side.'

Rogers was always placed correctly at the scrum and there was the start for his brilliantly fast action, the like of which we may never see again.

Rogers was wonderfully quick into his stride and his dash often took him through the defence and up to the full back before the defence knew what had happened.

His speed off the mark was phenomenal : but do not forget that he always gave himself a chance because he wasted no time in getting hold of that ball when his forwards heeled it.’

Rogers played his last game for Huddersfield in 1924-25 before signing for Wakefield Trinity on 9 January 1925 for a bargain of fee of £300.

He stayed in the north, and was licensee of the Plumber’s Arms in Huddersfield, and when he retired continued to live there for three years until the time of his death on 26 July 1958, aged 65 years.


Debut:  1 March 1913 v Bramley (h)







6 5 1 17


41 20 27 114


39 26 4 86


4 3 - 9


39 21 - 63


17 2 - 6


37 11 5 43


38 9 5 37


38 9 5 37


3 - - -


Last Game:  18 October 1924  v Rochdale Hornets (a)








26 3 9 27


31 4 2 16



Northern Union 7 Australia 12 1914 Sydney (2 goals)
Northern Union 4 Australia 8 1920 Brisbane
Northern Union 8 Australia 21 1920 Sydney
Northern Union 23 Australia 13 1920 Sydney (3 goals)
Northern Union 6 Australia 5 1921 Leeds
Northern Union 2 Australia 16 1921 Hull (goal)
Northern Union 6 Australia 0 1922 Salford


Test match rugby league kicked off on Saturday 25 January 1908 when The Northern Union defeated New Zealand 14-6 at Headingley.

Since then the British National XIII has gone under the guise of  The Northern Union (1908-1922), England (1924-46) and Great Britain (1947-2007).


Wales 12 England 16 1914 St Helens
Wales 16 Australia 21 1921 Pontypridd (try)
Wales 7 England 12 1922 Herne Hill









Huddersfield 262 106 47 412
Wakefield Trinity 57 7 11 43
Tests 7 - 6 12
Wales  3 1 - 3
Rep: Other Nats 1 1 - 3
1914 Tour * 6 2 3 12

1920 Tour *

6 2 - 6


342 119 67 491


TOTALS                    342            119               67             491

* Excluding Tests

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