FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS: Lee Dickson, when he led the 1st XV out at Twickenham. He is returning to Barnard Castle School as master of rugby
FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS: Lee Dickson, when he led the 1st XV out at Twickenham. He is returning to Barnard Castle School as master of rugby

School rugby

EX-ENGLAND scrum-half Lee Dickson is to lead the development of rugby at Barnard Castle School.

The 33-year-old, a former student at the school, is returning to be master of rugby.

The former Newcastle Falcon, Northampton Saint and Bedford Blue, whose last match for England was against the All Blacks, will be responsible for developing rugby across the prep and senior schools, as well as using his talents at squash and cricket to further boost sports coaching.

He will also develop a host of links between the school and a variety of sporting organisations at all levels.

Lee, who is married to Becky and has three sons, Josh, Oscar and Charlie, said: “I loved Barney and when I left I always felt and hoped that one day I would return and that my children would go there. I thought it was a bit of a pipedream but this shows that sometimes things do come true.

“Two years ago, I made the decision to drop down a league and started to look at life after rugby. Teaching was something I wanted to go into.

“I feel I have retired at the right time and am walking away from the game I love and into an unbelievable opportunity.”

Lee, whose brother Karl also attended the school and is now a professional referee, said he had always stayed in touch with the school and, in particular, second master Martin Pepper, who was his first team rugby coach.

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“Martin was a huge driving force in my rugby career and even after I left Barney we were in close contact. I am very grateful to him for approaching me for this role,” he said.

The son of a serviceman, Lee boarded at Barnard Castle School from the age of 11. In his final year in 2003 he captained the Barnard Castle School 1st XV on his 18th birthday in the final of the Daily Mail Cup at Twickenham. After leaving school he played for Newcastle Falcons and was part of the Northampton Saints squad which won the Premiership.

His first of 18 caps for England came against Scotland, a team he once played for at U19s as his father is Scottish.

In 2017, Lee joined Bedford Blues as player-coach for the 2017-18 Greene King IPA Championship season announcing his retirement and move to Barnard Castle School on Friday.

Lee, who has been helping to coach children at a school Bedford, added: “At the age of 26 I was quite late into the England set up and I have Stuart Lancaster to thank for selecting me.

“Every cap with England is special and the highs playing for your country are unbelievable.

“I am hoping to put some of that experience into teaching a new generation of players and helping them make their dreams come true.

“Rugby is the best game in the world, not just for being a competitive sport but also for the values of humility, generosity, respect and teamwork it reflects.”