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Sale statement: Simon Hammersley to retire from rugby aged 29

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images for Sale Sharks)

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Sale full-back Simon Hammersley has announced that he will retire from playing at the age of 29 and pursue a career away from rugby following the expiry next month of his three-year contract at the Manchester club. Hammersley made 16 appearances in the 2021/22 campaign, starting on a dozen occasions, but he has decided to call it quits rather than seek to play on. 

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A Sale statement read: “The Sharks can confirm that full-back Simon Hammersley will leave the club and retire from rugby at the end of the current season to pursue a career outside the sport. The 29-year-old fans’ favourite, who joined the club from Newcastle Falcons ahead of the 2019/20 season, has played 59 times for Sharks, including 16 games this season.

“Originally from Hull, Simon studied at Durham University with Sharks teammate Josh Beaumont and started his professional rugby career with the Falcons in 2013. He made his Premiership debut in 2014 at just 21 and his form in his first two years of first-team rugby was rewarded with a call up to the England Saxons squad to tour South Africa in 2016.

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“He joined Sharks on a three-year deal at the end of the 2019 season after Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, and his first year at the AJ Bell was his most successful to date as he made more metres (1,813) than any other player, and beat 68 defenders with 24 line breaks, better than any full-back in the Premiership.  

“Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Simon for his huge contribution to the club over the past three years and we wish him all the very best for the future.”

It was last November, in an interview with RugbyPass, when Hammersley recalled his decision in 2019 to switch from Newcastle to Sale. “It was difficult,” he said. “My wife and I were really settled up there and they had given me my shot at rugby, but I always had this relegation clause. It was my mum, who isn’t into sport but comes to watch quite a bit, who said, ‘Your career can be very short, would you rather be playing Premiership or Championship rugby?’ She put it in that kind of simplistic terms and I thought, ‘Yeah, you don’t know how long your career can be’.

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“Sale were interested and they had made a lot of signings. Steve Diamond and Jono Ross said they were trying to push on as a club and I thought it would be really exciting. We were enjoying Newcastle but it is sometimes nice to be pushed out of your comfort zone and this (offer) was forcing us to do that, moving professionally away from where you live and making friends elsewhere.”

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