Obituary: Dave Sampson, rugby player

Dave Sampson, who has died aged 76, played rugby league for Wakefield Trinity, Castleford Tigers, Bramley and Hunslet, coached at Castleford and was a popular publican and a published author.

Dave Sampson

Dave Sampson, who has died aged 76, played rugby league for Wakefield Trinity, Castleford Tigers, Bramley and Hunslet, coached at Castleford and was a popular publican and a published author.

His pubs around Wakefield included Sampson’s Free House, the Travellers at Stanley and The Ship on Lee Moor Road.

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The father of Tigers legend Dean Sampson, he began his professional playing career with Wakefield Trinity in 1963, as a utility-back.

He moved to Bramley in 1966 and, playing in the second-row, was a try scorer in their famous 1973 BBC Floodlit Trophy final win over Widnes.

Sampson made his debut for Castleford as a starting prop in a 21-15 defeat at Wigan on January 22, 1978.

He played 28 times for the club, his last game being on October 5, 1980, when Castleford beat Barrow 23-18 at Wheldon Road.

After retiring from the professional game, he played and coached at grass roots level before returning to Castleford as an assistant to Malcolm Reilly.

He was on the backroom staff when Tigers won the Challenge Cup in 1986 and became first team coach in 1987-88.

He later had spells in charge of Doncaster and Nottingham City and finished back in the amateur game at Stanley Rangers.

In 2001 he published a biography, Fast Lane to Shangri-La, in which he recalled growing up in a Yorkshire mining community, signing as a professional player in the early 1960’s for Trinity alongside his brother Malcolm, and his subsequent career.

He is survived by his wife, Mavis, children Dean, Jonathan, Rebecca, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.