ENGLAND and Dorchester rugby union legend Mike Davis has passed away at the age of 80, the RFU has announced.

Davis played 16 times for England as lock forward between 1963 and 1970.

He went on to coach England to Grand Slam success in 1980 and would later transform Dorchester's fortunes before the turn of the millennium.

Davis took the director of coaching role at Dorchester in 1997, guiding the county town to promotion in the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 seasons, reaching South West Division One level.

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In between the back-to-back promotion, he steered Dorchester to the semi-final of the NPI Cup in February, where they were cruelly beaten just one game away from a Twickenham final.

The former Harlequins coach and Bristol assistant then presided over a double relegation before quitting Dorchester in 2003 to teach maths at Sherborne Girls' School.

Following his decision to exit the Coburg Road side, then team manager Martin Bartlett paid tribute to Davis.

Speaking to Echosport, he said the ex-England forward was "a magnificent coach - the best I have ever had anything to do with."

He added: "He took over a side that was struggling and built those players into a league-winning combination.

"His skills as a coach have improved every single player who has ever been connected with the club during his time here.

"Obviously we will be very sorry to lose him and he is going to be a very hard man to replace."

Aside from his undoubted skills as a coach, Davis enjoyed immense success as a player.

He captained the Royal Navy side to the inter-services championship in 1966, later joining London side Harlequins.

In 1970, Davis skippered Staffordshire to the County Championship before taking up an interest in coaching.

England Schoolboys won two Junior Grand Slams under his stewardship before he coached the senior England side from 1979 to 1983.

Davis is survived by wife, Jenny, daughter, Jo, plus twin sons, Peter and Simon.

*The Dorset Echo will publish a further tribute to Davis later this week.