Test record: 2 Tests (1993) – 0 points
Tours: 1993 tour of Britain and France

Wellington hooker Denvour Johnston was a bolter in the 1993 Kiwis squad to tour Britain and France, where he unseated veteran rake Duane Mann for the final two Tests.

The Randwick Kingfishers linchpin represented Cook Islands in the 1988 and 1992 Pacific Cup tournaments, but he was stuck in the Wellington No.9 pecking order behind Syd Eru, who had been earmarked as Mann’s heir apparent in the New Zealand team.

But Eru’s suspension during 1993 opened the door for Johnston, who starred for Wellington with six tries in seven matches and earned a Kiwis trial. The livewire snared the hooker understudy role for the trip to Britain and France – ostensibly at the expense of Eru – and played eight matches on tour.

New Zealand’s disastrous results in the first two Tests against Great Britain saw Howie Tamati install Johnston at hooker for the third encounter, a 29-10 loss at Leeds, and he held the spot for the one-Test against France, won 36-11 by the Kiwis in Carcassonne.

But Johnston’s star quickly faded in 1994; he was shunted to the second-row by Junior Kiwi Zane Clark late in Hutt Valley Firehawks’ Lion Red Cup campaign and missed selection in the New Zealand Residents squad and for the Kiwis’ tour of Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, new Test captain Mann and Eru were recruited for Auckland Warriors’ 1995 entry to the Australian premiership.

Johnston spent 1995 with the Firehawks and played for Taranaki Rockets in the last Lion Red Cup competition in 1996 before enjoying a stint with French club Lyon and then returning to Wellington.