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Strettle To Retire: Social Media reaction proves how good he was.

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Saracens and England winger David Strettle has announced he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season following an illustrious 17-year career.

The 35-year-old first picked up a ball aged five years has gone on to make over 325 appearances at club level as well as earning 14 caps on the international stage.

Known for his quick feet, electric pace and try-scoring ability, Strettle has crossed the whitewash on 122 occasions to date, the latest couple coming in Sarries’ Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Glasgow Warriors in March.

Starting out at Rotherham Titians in 2002, Strets made a name for himself on the Sevens circuit with England before penning a deal with Harlequins. Soon after, Test recognition in the 15s game came and he made a try-scoring debut against Ireland at Croke Park.

After four years at The Stoop, he found home at Saracens in 2010 and hit the ground running with a try in his first outing for the Men in Black and struck again the following weekend against Leeds Carnegie.

It proved to be a memorable first season in north London for Strettle as Sarries won their first ever Premiership title. The hotstepper ended his four years at the club with a second domestic medal and departed for Clermont Auvergne having enjoyed several trips away with the squad, creating long-lasting memories in the process.

In France, Strettle was adored by the Montferrand faithful and helped them to their first Top 14 triumph in seven years before returning to Allianz Park this season where he has once again made a huge impact on and off the field.

There is no doubt Strets will be a success in whatever he chooses to do post-retirement and everyone at Saracens would like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

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Death, taxes….and rugby players’ retirement statements on social media…all certainties of life in this day an age. So, this is it for me. Every journey has its end and every curtain has its call, and I’m now having to admit that I can’t play rugby forever. There’s always that nagging doubt in the back of your mind as a rugby player, that nudges you to say, ‘go on…one more year!’ Sometimes you listen to it, but sometimes you take a step back and realise that now is time. Yet, I won’t gloss over the fact I am leaving a sport and a way of life, that has given me so much opportunity, and in turn, has provided me a wealth of memories, friendships, and life lessons since I first laced up my boots as a snotty-nosed kid in Warrington. From finding so much enjoyment in playing the game at my local club Lymm RFC, to learning the ropes at Rotherham Titans – then being lucky enough to play at three of the elite clubs our game can boast in Harlequins, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Saracens. To play for my country is something that I will look back on with immense pride, on both the Sevens circuit and then for the England national side. I’d like to thank Saracens, who provided me and my family with the opportunity to return to Allianz Park for one more season. I feel incredibly lucky to come back to this Club, and a massive thank you must go to Nigel Wray and Mark McCall, all the coaching and backroom staff, past and present for their support and encouragement, and my teammates, for sharing so many experiences and memories with along the way. My final thanks go to my family. To my Mum and Dad, for doing what every good parent does by believing in me and providing me with the support and dedication to make the world my oyster. Latterly in my life, to my wife, Phoebe, and my two little munchkins, Isla and Leo, for giving me the perfect reason to play rugby, to make them proud. So…from me, thank you. Thanks for all your support, thanks for all the memories, and here’s to making one or two more before I become another one of those grumpy old timers who charge modest sums to speak at your local rugby club to trot out the tired old clichés! Ta, Strets!

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On retiring, Strettle said:

“I spoke to my wife and we decided now is the time to say goodbye to rugby. There are some more adventures for me elsewhere.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to look back, be very proud and privileged to have done some of the things I’ve done.

“There was a time when I was at Clermont I thought I’d retire so everything from that point has been an unbelievable bonus for me and to come back to Saracens has been incredible.

“When I first joined the club there was a saying called ‘ELE’ – Everyone Loves Everyone – it’s very true. There are no prima-donnas, no one is treated better than the others.

“Saracens will always have a special place in my heart and I have some amazing memories to take forward. I’m looking forward to the last couple of months before creating further memories outside of rugby.”

Director of Rugby Mark McCall added: “To watch Strets play, is to forget you are a coach and to be a fan of rugby.

“Competitive in the air, graceful on the run, intelligent in defence, he has produced some of the most memorable moments of skill ever seen in a Saracens jersey; often in big games, often under the greatest pressure. That is the mark of a truly great player.

“Off the field, he is a dedicated teammate and family man. Saracens have been fortunate to have David for two spells at the club and he leaves having made Saracens a better place. We wish him and his family every success in the future.”

Past & Current players were quick to comment and congratulate Strettle on his career:

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6 Nations

Sean O’Brien to retire from rugby

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Image Credit: London Irish

London Irish can confirm Seán O’Brien is set to retire from rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The back-row forward will bring a storied 14-year career to a conclusion this summer after two-and-a-half years with the Exiles.

O’Brien spent eleven seasons with his home province of Leinster, winning four Pro12/ Pro14 league titles, four Heineken Cup/ Champions Cup honours and an Amlin Challenge Cup, whilst also earning the ERC European Player of the Year accolade in 2011. 

He was capped 56 times for Ireland between 2009 and 2019 and represented the British and Irish Lions on two tours, firstly to Australia in 2013 and then to New Zealand in 2017. 

O’Brien joined London Irish in December 2019 and has played a vital part across three successful seasons in west London, becoming a fan favourite amongst the Exile Nation. 

On his decision to retire, O’Brien stated: “After much deliberation and consultation with my family and friends, I can confirm that I have decided to retire from playing professional rugby at the end of the season.

“I’ve had an incredible career and am thankful for every second of my time at Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the British & Irish Lions. 

“As a 20-year-old, I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the Leinster jersey, and when I made my debut against Cardiff Blues in 2008, I never imagined what would then follow over the next 14 years. 

“A special mention must go to Colin McEntee for his ‘big brother’ approach when I joined the academy. 

“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career.

“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 56 caps for Ireland. 

“I gave everything I could possibly give, and I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the Irish jersey to represent my country, my county, my friends, and family.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.

“Firstly, I would like to thank my Mam and Dad for taking me to Ballon Rathoe Community Games and then Tullow RFC when I was 8 years old. 

“They took me to every sport in my area which gave me the exposure to all types of sport. 

“They were the perfect role models who taught me to not be afraid of hard work, which certainly helped me progress my career and I can’t thank them enough.

“I was lucky to play alongside some great players and under some brilliant managers and coaches during my time at Tullow, Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the Lions and I would like to thank every one of them. 

“I would also like to thank the backroom staff at each of those clubs, they all showed me fantastic support during my time with them.

“I would like to say a special thank you to some people who believed in me early on in my career, who are sadly no longer with us. 

“Jim Kealy (Tullow RFC) and David Wilkie (Edenderry RFC) always said the right thing to me and gave me direction when needed.

“Away from rugby, I feel lucky to have had such a close group of friends that I have always been able to count and rely on throughout the course of my career. 

“Thanks to all of you, especially James Foley and Daniel Davey. 

“Finally, the most important thank you is reserved for my family. 

“I can’t thank my Mum, Dad and brothers (Stephen and William) sisters (Caroline and Alex) enough for their unconditional support over the years. 

“It has meant everything to me and to have 6 nephews watching means the world to me.

“There is still a lot of rugby to be played this season before the time comes to hang up my boots, and I am fully focused on giving my all in the London Irish jersey until then. 

“I’m going to soak up every minute I get on the pitch and look forward to helping the team wherever I can.

“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be. 

“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”

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Premiership

Club statement | Gloucester match cancelled

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Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Warriors regret that tonight’s Gallagher Premiership match against Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm has been cancelled.

COVID-19 cases, illness and injuries mean that, despite every attempt to fulfil the fixture, we are unable to name a team with sufficient front row forwards to comply with the competition regulations.

We currently have 36 players unavailable due to injury, illness or COVID-19, leaving us with only 18 fully fit players, of whom just three are prop forwards.

When the side to face Gloucester was announced on Thursday we named the only four fit props in the club at that stage. The availability of Murray McCallum, who was named as replacement tighthead, was subject to him passing a fitness test on Friday morning. Unfortunately, Murray failed that fitness test.

Gloucester and Premiership Rugby have now been notified that we no longer have sufficient fit and available front row forwards to allow tonight’s match to proceed safely.

We apologise to Gloucester, supporters of both clubs and BT Sport for the inconvenience this will inevitably cause but exceptional circumstances have conspired against us.

An independent Panel will now be convened to decide the points allocation and that decision will be communicated in due course but Premiership Rugby can confirm the match will not be replayed.

• The playing regulations for Gallagher Premiership matches state that:

In the interests of safety each team playing in the Premiership must have at least six fit and able players in the squad who can play at hooker, tighthead prop and loosehead prop who are suitably trained and experienced to ensure that on the first occasion that a replacement in any front row position is required (whether due to injury or consequent to a player(s) being temporarily suspended or ordered off) the team can continue to play safely with contested scrums.
In the event that a club is unable to field those six players, the match shall be cancelled.

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Premiership

Scotland international heading to Bristol

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Bristol Bears have agreed terms to bring Scottish international Magnus Bradbury to Ashton Gate Stadium.

The 26-year-old back rower joins Ellis Genge and AJ MacGinty as the Bears’ third international signing ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

With seventeen caps to his name, Bradbury has made over 100 appearances for Edinburgh Rugby since graduating through the club’s Academy.

“Magnus is a physical, athletic back rower with outstanding work rate and all the attributes to thrive in our system,” said Director of Rugby Pat Lam.

“To be a centurion at Edinburgh at such a young age shows his consistency and attitude and we’ve seen from his performances on the international stage that he can compete at the very highest level.

“Magnus brings further quality and physicality to our back row as we continue our recruitment for the 2022/23 campaign.”

Bradbury made his full Scotland debut in the 2016 November Test victory over Argentina at BT Murrayfield and has featured in all three of Scotland’s Six Nations fixtures in 2022.

He added: “It’s an exciting opportunity to come to Bristol and play in the Gallagher Premiership. This is a massive club with great ambitions and a world class coaching team – I’m looking forward to the challenge that awaits.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Edinburgh Rugby and my teammates, the fans and staff at the club. It’s been an incredible journey and I am grateful for the support I have received over many years.”

Source – Bristol Bears Rugby

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