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England star Wade Dooley to make comeback


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Former England second rower & legend Wade Dooley is making a comeback – as a citing officer for the Rugby Football Union.

The ‘Blackpool Tower’, who won 55 caps as Martin Johnson’s predecessor, will be joined from January 1, 2009 by another former international, Mike Rafter, and ex-England Students manager Tony Lanaway.

The trio will watch matches, including the Guinness Premiership and the new Championship (currently National Division One), for foul play as part of the RFU’s respected disciplinary process.

At 6ft 8ins Dooley was a towering presence on the field and the streets of Blackpool as a police officer and he is looking forward to his new role.

“I suppose it’s an extension of what I have been doing for the past 30 years – in effect it’s policing rugby,” said Dooley, who retired from police work last year.

“As a player I never minded the rough and tumble of the game but it needs to be a clean contest. Now with all the camera angles, players are going to be spotted if they commit any foul play; there is no hiding place.”

Former Bristol flanker and current Gloucestershire coach Rafter, who won 17 caps between 1977 and 1981, said: “I have been involved on the disciplinary side for a few years now and I have enjoyed it. I am looking forward to bringing a former international player’s view to another part of the process.”

Lanaway boasts a playing career in England, Ireland and America and a coaching pedigree that included a 1990 England Under-21s side containing Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill and Kyran Bracken.

Currently Chairman of the England Students Performance Committee, he said: “I suppose we are an extra pair of eyes to keep the game on the straight and narrow. Hopefully I can bring my experience of having coached and observed rugby around the world to the role.”

The recruitment brings the number of citing officers to 11 and His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett, the RFU Disciplinary Officer, said: “We are lucky in England to have a pool of exceptionally talented and well respected citing officers, all of whom have operated at the top of the game as players, referees and coaches in the past.

“The addition of two ex England international players in Wade and Mike and Tony’s vast experience as a coach and manager will further strengthen the system and I look forward to working closely with them.”



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