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The Independent Online
Fifteen years ago, going to play rugby in South Africa cost John Carleton his career. The Orrell winger, who scored a hat-trick of tries as England clinched the Grand Slam by beating Scotland at Murrayfield in 1980, was chosen to tour there with the Lions, upon which he was informed by labour-controlled Wigan Council, for whom he worked as a teacher, that were he to go he would lose his job.

"They had a strict policy on apartheid but there was no moral issue involved so far as I was concerned," Carleton said. "I was only 23. I was disillusioned with teaching and felt I was educated enough to find another career but I knew I might have only one shot at playing for the Lions. It was not a difficult decision.''

In fact, he toured again three years later and had little difficulty finding employment with a local building society. Today he works in corporate finance for the Bank of Ireland in Liverpool.

Brought up in Rugby League country, Carleton says he took up the union code by accident. "It was only because I went to grammar school, really. I was tempted to play League. If the financial incentives had been as great as they are now, I probably would have. But for me at the time rugby was a pleasure and I felt I was intelligent enough to earn a living doing something else.''

Orrell's most capped player with 25 England appearances, he has remained a one-club man since he first pulled on their jersey at 16. Until the end of last season he still turned out for the third or fourth XV. Now 39, he lives in Standish, near Wigan.