Lives Remembered

John Hewitt: Instonians, Ulster and Ireland out-half during golden era for Irish rugby

John Hewitt pictured in the green of Ireland with Argentina's Miguel Angel Sarandón during a tour of South America in 1952

JOHN Hewitt had the misfortune to play his rugby in the same era and same position as Ulster and Ireland great Jack Kyle.

But that did not stop him winning legendary status in his own right.

He won only a few caps for Ireland, including a Five Nations appearance against England in 1954, but "would have walked onto any other team" according to international teammate Jim McCarthy.

"Johnny Hewitt was the second best out-half in the British Isles during our glory years," he told John Scally's 100 Irish Rugby Greats.

From Belfast, Hewitt was a pupil at RBAI where he won a schools cup medal in 1945.

An accountant by profession, he had a lifelong association with Instonians RFC where he is remembered for his great sense of humour and passion for the club.

It said the word legend "barely describes what John Hewitt was".

"A magnificent out-half, whose playing days coincided with his arch rival Jack Kyle. He was involved in probably one of the most successful rugby eras for Instonians, Ulster and Ireland," it said.

"After his playing days were over, he continued to help rugby in the administration roles: selector for Instonians, Ulster and Ireland, manager of Instonians tour to Australia, club treasurer, president of Instonians and president of the Ulster Branch.

"While his health allowed he was a constant presence at Instonians, he will be greatly missed.

"Instonians send their heartfelt condolences to John’s family, daughter Gillian, son Michael, son-in-law Trevor, daughter-in-law Ruth and grandchildren Andrew, Joanne, Patrick, Michael and Andrew."

William John Hewitt died aged 90 on May 14.

A Service of Thanksgiving was held for him in McCracken Memorial Church in Belfast.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Lives Remembered