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Ex-Marine shot by sniper becomes full-time referee

Jack Smith

Jack Smith was a player with Crosfields before joining the Royal Marines in 2008

A former Royal Marine who was shot by a sniper while on duty in Afghanistan has joined the Rugby Football League’s full-time panel of referees.

Jack Smith, 27, officiated his first Super League game in June, six years after he was shot in the back and left in a coma for two weeks.

Following two years of rehabilitation, he was discharged and began refereeing.

“I’m excited to be part of the full-time team,” said Smith, who becomes one of just nine full-time RFL referees.

“I feel the full-time environment will help me learn more and take my officiating to the next level.”

Smith, a former amateur player from Wigan, was in hospital for several weeks while he recovered from the injuries he suffered in Afghanistan.

The bullet passed through his body armour and travelled through his liver, diaphragm, lung and chest, breaking 10 of his ribs.

The RFL has also promoted Scott Mikalauskas, taking its full-time match officials team back up to nine following the retirements of Richard Silverwood and Sam Ansell.