Rugby Union: Johnson on way as Dooley is forced to leave Lions: Family bereavement signals end of England lock's distinguished career as tourists lick their wounds

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The Independent Online
WADE DOOLEY left the Lions tour of New Zealand today after the death of his father, Geoff, following a heart attack. The Lions had already lost the Scotland centre Scott Hastings, who needed a 4 1/2 -hour operation to repair a depressed fracture of the cheekbone suffered in the 37-24 defeat by Otago in Dunedin.

Dooley, England's most- capped lock, was told of his bereavement when the Lions arrived here yesterday for their game against Southland tomorrow. His replacement is Leicester's Martin Johnson, who won one cap last season and has been touring Canada with England.

Johnson, 23, left Toronto only today but the Lions hope he will arrive in Christchurch on Wednesday, travelling from London on the same flight as Ireland's Vincent Cunningham, who is replacing Hastings.

The other Lions casualties from the Otago match are less serious than first feared. Will Carling has a groin injury, which is responding to treatment. Martin Bayfield had his neck in a surgical collar yesterday after suffering severe bruising between his shoulders when he fell awkwardly at a line-out.

As the 6ft 10in lock temporarily lost the feeling in his left arm, there had been anxiety that he might have spinal damage. Instead, he and Carling now have some chance of recovering in time for the Test.

For Dooley, 35, it is a melancholy end to a distinguished international career. He played 55 times for England since his debut in 1985 and in two Tests for the Lions in Australia in 1989. Even though the advancing years appeared to be catching up with him, he was front runner to partner Bayfield against New Zealand next Saturday.

Lions mauled,

Tour reports, page 28

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