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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Whitehaven hooker’s career on hold after joining nuclear police force

Hooker Chris Smith has joined the nuclear police and is out of contention for Whitehaven for almost four months at least.

Chris Smith photo
Chris Smith

Smith’s training course starts next week, putting his promising rugby career firmly on hold.

“It is good for Chris but unfortunate for us. He has been accepted in to the police at Sellafield and he’s starting a 15-week training course in Oxford,” said coach Dave Woods, who fully appreciates Smith’s position. “This is his future and he can’t risk that. He has to do what’s best for himself. I’ve had a chat with him, about what he wants to do, and given him some options.”

Smith was ruled out of contention for Haven’s opening win against York at the weekend with a hamstring injury, and it will now be summer at the earliest before he is available to make his Championship debut this term.

But it is not yet known if he will be allowed to continue with his professional rugby career after completing his police training course.

Luckily for Haven, they still have two No 9s, Carl Sice and James Newton, who both shone against York.

“It would have been great to have three battling for that spot,” added Woods, who is prepared to let Smith go on loan to Championship One newcomers Oxford, while in police training, if allowed by the force, to maintain his match fitness while away from the Recre.

Smith progressed through Haven’s junior ranks and proved one of the third tier’s top hookers in 2011, though he was unable to build on his promise last season due to a serious injury.

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