One of the Kiwis’ biggest bolters of the 1990s, front-rower Paul Johnson was a late injury replacement in the squad to tour Britain and France in 1993 – his first season as a Canterbury rep.
Invercargill-born Johnson debuted for Papanui in 1989 and featured in the Tigers side that went from wooden spooners to 1992 Grand Final winners in the space of 12 months.
The compact prop broke into Frank Endacott’s Canterbury line-up in 1993 and played all eight matches on the provincial program, including the unforgettable 36-12 thrashing of Auckland in the First Division Grand Final. He also featured in the mid-season Kiwi trial.
Johnson was called into the Kiwis’ touring party after veteran front-row great Brent Todd withdrew. The 24-year-old debuted against Bradford Northern and played six matches on tour (no Tests).
Appearing briefly for Canterbury Country Cardinals in the inaugural Lion Red Cup amid a 1994 campaign ruined by a broken leg, Johnson returned strongly the following season to play 17 games for the Cardinals, all four rep matches for Canterbury and two fixtures for New Zealand Residents against Tonga Residents and a Test-strength New Zealand team.
Johnson turned out for the Cardinals again in 1996 but hung up the boots a year later.
NEW ZEALAND (1993)
6 tour matches – 0 points
-1993 Kiwis tour of Britain and France