Dr Jon Raphael;
(Bective Rangers FC, Northampton Saints, Leinster, England, East Midlands, Barbarians)
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Dr Jon Raphael.
Jon came to Dublin in the early seventies to study medicine at The Royal College of Surgeons. He was living with the O’Hagan family in Anglesea Rd and news filtered down to Bective via Johnny that a potential star rugby player was in our midst. A deputation was dispatched to Anglesea Rd led by Des Broderick to make sure that Jon would come down to the Rangers. And so Jon arrived in Donnybrook to begin his rugby career in the Rangers.
Many of the RCSI students who played rugby joined Jon in Bective at this time including Bjorn Lofterod, Tim O’Flanagan, Sean Nixon, Karl Byrne, Paul Harty, and many others. They formed the nucleus of the Bective 1st XV that was coached by Dr Eimhear McCarville.
From the outset it was clear that Jon was very talented and he quickly established himself as one of the best hookers playing in Ireland at the time. He came to the notice of the Leinster selectors and was selected to play against Fiji in Lansdowne Rd on the 15th of September 1973. Unfortunately Illness ruled him out but sometime later he did get to play for Leinster. There was opposition in certain quarters to an Englishman playing representative rugby for Leinster but there were other more enlightened officials who encouraged his inclusion and indeed were keen to have him declare for Ireland. At this stage the RFU took notice and Jon was selected on the England squad. Unfortunately the England Captain at the time was also a hooker, John Pullin, so in effect Jon’s role was to be on the bench from 1975 to 1981.
Jon toured Australia with England in 1975 and also toured with the Barbarians on two occasions.
Jon was tall for a hooker but his fine physique and strength ensured that his primary duties at scrum time were always carried out efficiently and to the benefit of the team.
Probably the best thrower in of a ball at line -out time in the country whilst playing in Bective.
On completion of his medical studies at RCSI Jon returned to Northampton to set up as a GP in the town setting up The Mounts Medical Centre.
He continued his rugby with Northampton Saints playing 159 games for the club.
The most friendly and caring of individuals…He will be sadly missed.
May he rest in peace.
Funeral mass takes place on 17th of April at All Saints Church Northampton.