Australian Blair Connor has retired from playing with immediate effect at the age of 31 despite having another year to go on his contract in the Top 14 at Bordeaux, the club he first joined in 2010 after two Super Rugby campaigns with the Reds.
Spending ten years at the same European club is unusual for a player hailing from the southern hemisphere as they tend to move around for different experiences.
However, the winger found his home from home in Bordeaux, playing on 219 occasions before deciding to knock playing on the head due to the toll it was taking on his body.
Explaining his decision to retire, Connor told the Bordeaux club website: “Now is the time to announce my retirement from rugby, effective immediately. It was a decision I made before the start of the 2019/20 season.
“Since the end of the 2018/19 season I started to feel pain every day, especially when I sprint or change direction, so it became difficult to find pleasure during training. Unfortunately for me, it was no longer the 1960s when the warm-up was a cigarette and the workout was 10 beers at the pub!
“Nowadays training is actually more intense than matches and more important for victory. I decided that I could give 100 per cent for this season but I have nothing left to give next season. Despite the break for the virus, my body remains unchanged and so does my decision.
“It’s not a sad moment, rather a moment of happiness, I had a great career and I went as far as possible but now… the time has come for surfing. I don’t want to talk too much about it here, I’ll keep my words for the first game of the 20/21 season when I return to the stadium to say thank you and goodbye.”
Club president Laurent Marti added: “It’s with great emotion that we see Blair stop his career. Blair put me in the know last July when the season started.
“He explained to me that despite the year of his contract that he had to do, he no longer felt his body able to start again for the 20/21 season. It was a shock and we thought it would certainly be possible to get him to change his mind.
“We had suggested to him to take more time and wait until December to really make his decision. But nothing has changed, and even the premature end of our fantastic season has not made him go back on what he had decided… he is the icon of this club, a player that all the supporters admired and loved.”
Après 10 saisons et 219 matchs sous les couleurs de l’UBB, Blair Connor a décidé raccrocher les crampons. Adressons-lui ensemble un immense MERCI !
Les mots de Blair et du président Marti :
? https://t.co/Tgu9iKsqXB#iloveubb #Top14 #bordeaux
— UBB Rugby (@UBBrugby) June 10, 2020
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