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‘Doc’ Roe no longer just a nickname

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John Roe, Queensland and former Australia number eight, has finally graduated from the University of Queensland medical school after studying in between his rugby commitments for eight years.


Roe was a year and a half short of graduation when he was called upon by Queensland to play in the Super 12 in May 2002, and he has since stretched that year and a half of study out for four and a half years while winning 19 caps for Australia, in the face of continuing friednly jibes about how long he still had to go.


“Finally that story can be put to rest, that old chestnut,” he said to The Australian on Tuesday.


Roe is not the first Australia player to qualify as a doctor, with Back-rowers Mark Loane and Brett Robinson also on that roll of honour, and Argentina’s Felipe Contempomi is taking a similar amount of time to earn his white coat while playing for Leinster and Argentina.


But it will be two more years before Roe begins practising, as he still has contractual obligations.


“Rugby’s a profession now and we train business hours,” he said.


“So unfortunately I can’t do medical stuff and that’s the first time in a while I haven’t had it hanging over my head.”


Roe joked he should be “twice as smart” considering his deferred course took twice as long as normal to complete but is yet to decide whether to be a GP or to specialise, but either way his wife Kate, already a practising doctor, should keep him up-to-date.


Rumours that he will specialise in muscle-building and core strength on Australia’s front row players were said to be unfounded though…

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