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From Wasps to dentists
Two South Oxhey dentists swapped their drills and tooth scalers for scrum caps and gum shields as they took part in a legends charity rugby tour.
Ex-London Wasps rugby stars Shane Roiser and Norman Bloom, both now enjoying very different careers away from the rugby field, lined up against the combined Channel Islands team in Guernsey last month.
Both Shane and Norman have long since swapped the bruising physicality of a rugby field for the slightly more tranquil environment of the dentist’s chair in Bridlington Road, South Oxhey.
However, the pair pulled on the famous London Wasps jersey – worn in recent years by the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, former Watford Grammar School for Boys pupil Josh Lewsey and rugby heart-throb Danny Cipriani – for the one-off game on August 30.
The tour raised £5,000 for the Wooden Spoon – a rugby charity supporting mentally, physically and socially disadvantaged children.
Norman, who owns the N Bloom Associates dental practice, said: “There is a serious element to it.
“But it is a nice thing to do because a lot of us haven’t worn the Wasps shirt for quite a few years. It certainly rolls back the years.”
Norman trained as a dentist and played rugby during the amateur era, often racing straight from his practice to the rugby pitch to play after work.
“I was a dentist and I played rugby”, he said, “whereas Shane got his qualifications while he was playing rugby and put his qualifications to one side.
“I have always played rugby as a hobby rather than a job, whereas for Shane it was a professional career.”
The result was that while Shane enjoyed the fruits, as well as the labours, of the quickly evolving professional game, Norman focussed on his dental career.
However, after hanging up his boots four years ago Shane returned to his “other” profession and now practices out of the same dental surgery.
And even though the game may have become more and more professional in recent years, Norman says his old club still looks after its former players.
“Even old crocs like myself are well regarded and welcomed back at the club”, he said.
“And there has been a real renaissance in nostalgic sport, what with the veterans’ golf, and the tennis and football and the same thing has started to happen in rugby as well.”
Norman and Shane, now aged 42 and 35 respectively, took to the field with a host of other Wasps legends, including Kenny Logan – famous for his Strictly Come Dancing exploits and as husband to BBC’s Gabby Logan.
And despite relative age, Norman said the match was as rough as ever, with three players hospitalised with shoulder, rib and facial injuries respectively.
Nevertheless, Norman described the weekend as “fantastic fun”.
“It was an absolutely fantastic weekend.
“It was great to meet up with so many old friends and to play rugby”, Norman added.