He was born in Cardiff on May 17th 1926 but after being a seaman in the Royal Navy during World War II, he played for the English clubs of Birkenhead Park, Bradford, Sale, Leicester and Coventry. He also played for London Welsh and made wartime appearances for Cardiff and Penarth.
Robins also played for Glasgow Academicals, Devonport Services, Cheshire, Yorkshire, the Royal Navy and the Barbarians, before gaining four caps in 1951 and another three in 1953; eleven in all.
He made sixteen appearances for the Lions, kicking nine conversions and six penalty goals. He appeared in three of the four New Zealand tests and both in Australia.
Robins was a games master who also coached at Loughborough College, Sheffield University and Cardiff University; he was Assistant Manager in 1966 for the Lions, but was not allowed to coach.
In 1943 he won the long jump, shot and discus in the Welsh Junior Athletics Championships, setting records in the first two events.
John Denning Robins was a quiet but popular man who was a pioneer in the coaching world. He died on February 21st 2007 at the University Hospital of Wales, having been predeceased by his wife Barbara, and leaves a daughter, Alison.