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The Twitter reaction to retirement of 'nicest bloke' Mark Wilson

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Danny Care and Mike Brown were two of the many players to lead the tributes on social media after England back-rower Mark Wilson announced on Monday that he was retiring from playing with immediate effect. The 32-year-old, who won 23 England caps in his Test career, made a 14-minute appearance off the Newcastle bench in their January 29 Gallagher Premiership loss to Gloucester, his first action since June 12 last year. 

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It was in September when a meniscus tear to his knee was operated on. It was said at the time it would take between eight to twelve weeks to heal but it took Wilson longer than that to make his comeback and he has now called it quits following a career in which he featured off the bench in the 2019 World Cup final and won his last of his Test caps eleven months ago in the Guinness Six Nations game away to Ireland.  

Wilson, who played 237 games for Newcastle, wrote: “I have taken the decision to retire from rugby. It’s a decision that has been hard to make, but it’s the right one for me and my family right now.

“I’ve been involved with the Falcons since I was a 14-year-old coming over from Kendal for academy training and I have got some amazing memories. You never really know how you are going to end your career, but for me, this is my time to call it a day.

“My injury has made me re-assess where I’m at from a career point of view. That has been in the background and been in my thoughts quite a lot and whilst it hasn’t been the case that the injury has physically ended my career in its own right, it’s certainly been one of the main things which has added to my decision.”

The Valentine’s Day announcement by Wilson generated a huge reaction across the rugby world and Care, who was the England scrum-half in San Juan in June 2017 when the flanker made his Test debut, tweeted: “Good on you, Wils! Genuinely the nicest bloke I have met in Rugby. Take care and catch up soon pal.”

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Brown, who was the England full-back that same day in Argentina, added: “Legend!” Others to comment on Wilson’s retirement included Alex Goode, who said “congratulations on an incredible career’, Ed Slater, who said “brilliant player and person”, and Ollie Phillips, who tweeted “hell of a knock”.  

Rugby fans were similarly gracious in their comments about Wilson. Andrew Willis wrote: “Seriously underrated player, would have made a great England captain and could have had 50 caps in any other era.”

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