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Paul Hull gets 'one of the most crucial roles in the English game'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Ex-England full-back Paul Hull will succeed Tony Spreadbury as the new RFU head of professional game match officials, a position that became available when the long-serving Spreadbury decided to take up a similar role at EPCR covering the Heineken Champions and Challenge Cup. Capped four times by England, Hull was a one-man club career player for Bristol where he stayed on as a coach after making 289 first-team appearances. He then rose to the position of head coach having started in the academy, while also enjoying a spell coaching the England Saxons. 

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In recent years, Hull has been director of rugby and housemaster at Prior Park College in Bath, a role he combined with his work the last seven years as a citing officer, an interest that paved the way for him to agree to succeed Spreadbury at the RFU. He will formally take up his new role at the end of the academic year.

Hull said: “Although I’ve been away from the professional game for a time, my involvement and passion for rugby has continued in my role at Prior Park College: a role I have thoroughly enjoyed and the decision to leave was tough.

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“Through my work as a citing officer, I have got to know many of the match officials and as discussions about the role took place it became clear it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. I am extremely excited to be taking on this new position. I will be joining a talented group of match officials, who are amongst the best in the world. I am very much looking forward to joining them in the summer to see how far these accomplished officials can go as a group and individually.”

RFU performance director Conor O’Shea added: “We have worked hard with PRL, Tony and others, including Wayne Barnes, to identify the person we believe will move us forward and, in Paul, we feel we have a person steeped in the game, who will understand officiating from a coaching perspective and will challenge the officials in a different way.

“In the short-term Phil Winstanley and I will support Chris White, Steve Leyshon and Gary Welsh and we hope this group will form part of the longer-term strategy of the match officials’ technical development when Paul joins us full time at the end of the current season.”

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Premiership Rugby director Winstanley said: “This is one of the most crucial roles in the English game and we need to have someone who can challenge and develop our existing and future match officials. We believe that Paul’s background will introduce a new perspective into what is a group of world-class officials and coaches, and we believe that he is the right person to take this group to the next level.”

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