Wade Dooley - England - (Part 1) 1985-89

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 01 January 1988

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      Wednesday, 02 October 1957
      Warrington, England.
  • England

Wade DOOLEY - England - (Part 1) 1985-89

Wade Dooley was one of the few players to pull on an England jersey despite playing all his rugby outside the top flight. A Blackpool Community policeman, he played all his rugby for Preston Grasshoppers. The 6ft 8' lock was a league player until he discovered the union game in his late teens. It was perhaps as a result of playing at an unfashionable club that his first cap came at the age of 27, when he played against Romania in 1985. He was fortunately spotted and nurtured by Dick Greenwood, the Grasshoppers coach. The 1985 season was one of sweeping changes in English rugby; it would see 20 new caps in ten months. The experience of having no settled regime, squad or coaching set-up hardly aided Dooley's progress and he would be the first to admit that the first three years of his England career were a disappointment. In 1987 he gained notoriety for his involvement in the violent Wales-England game and was banned for one match. Having toured New Zealand in 1985, he returned to take part in the first Rugby World Cup; a hugely disappointing tournament in which England suffered the ignominy of going out to Wales in the quarter-finals. In 1988, he was joined in the England second row by another policeman, Paul Ackford. This had a big effect on his career as the two formed a formidable second-row partnership. His growing 'presence' in the England pack ensured selection for the Lions tour of Australia in 1989, one of 8 Englishmen on the trip. His great rival, the Welshman, Rob Norster, was picked for the first test which the Lions lost. However, Dooley was called on in the Second and Third Test and his added steel was crucial in a series which was won up front. (John Lovell)