New Zealand news July 18, 2014

Fulton eyes career as rugby referee

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand opener Peter Fulton has made moves to pursue a post-cricket career as a rugby referee after missing out on a central contract this year. Fulton, 35, was cut from New Zealand's contract list last week after a disappointing year in which he managed only 270 Test runs at 19.28 and lost his place in the team during the tour of West Indies in June.

"I'm obviously disappointed not to get a contract, but I had plenty of opportunities,'' Fulton told The Press. ''I had plenty of opportunities and I didn't take them. That's what it comes down to. When I look back, I had those two Tests against India and the first one against West Indies. If I'd scored then, then we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

''When you're closer to the end of your career than the start and you run out of chances, that's not a good thing. Reading between the lines, I think that's probably it for me, but you never say never.''

Although Fulton plans to keep playing first-class cricket for Canterbury for as long as he can, he has already made enquiries about moving into refereeing when his cricket career ends. In his younger days, Fulton played rugby to a high level and reached the Canterbury Colts team before choosing cricket over rugby.

"The last couple of years I've been thinking about it and it's just been a matter of finding the time to do it, which has been a bit hard when you're still playing cricket," Fulton told the New Zealand Herald. "But it's something I'm now starting to look more seriously at.

"I made some enquiries at the start of this winter, but it was just going to be a bit hard to fit in. So hopefully next winter I can get into it. I understand the game pretty well and always have plenty of advice to give the referees, so I guess it's a bit of a case of put up or shut up."

Fulton said if he was to get into refereeing, he would be aiming to progress to a point where he could officiate in international matches.

"If I'm going to do it, I guess it's like most things I've done with my sporting career - I want to try to do them as well as I can and go as high as I can," he said. "I'm under no illusions as to it being tougher than it looks, but it's definitely something I'd be committed to."

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