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'Won't miss waking up feeling like roadkill': Ex-Scotland flanker John Hardie confirms retirement

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Newcastle Falcons flanker John Hardie has announced he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season at just the age of 32. Capped 16 times by Scotland, his last appearance coming in 2017. Hardie has spent the past three seasons on Tyneside, making 30 appearances for the Falcons – his last in the defeat last month at Gallagher Premiership champions Exeter.

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“I could play for another year or two, but with the way the body is and the time it takes to recover between games – I just think it’s the right time to move on to a different career path,” said Newcastle forward Hardie. “It has to happen sometime, so it is better that I decide it on my own terms. I feel like I’m playing good rugby and I just don’t want to be hanging around or holding on for too long.

“With the way I play the game you have to throw everything into it and whereas it used to be one or two days to get over a game, now it is pretty much the full week until it is time to play again on the weekend. I won’t miss waking up feeling like roadkill on a Sunday morning, but I have enjoyed my career and I’ve got nothing but gratitude for what rugby has given me.”

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards added: “I’d like to congratulate John on a fantastic career and personally thank him for his contribution during his three seasons with us. He has been an outstanding professional during that period, and as well as his exploits on the field he has passed on his knowledge and contributed towards a really positive culture among the squad.”

Newcastle back-rower Hardie continued: “Professional rugby has been my life ever since the age of 17 or 18 when I signed my first contract, and it’s given me so much. I owe an incredible amount to my family for the way they’ve supported me throughout, and it’s taken me to some awesome places. I’ve made incredible friends who I’ll stay in touch with and I have done so many cool things as a result of being involved with the sport.

“As a rugby player you’re in such a privileged position and I have had 14 years of that, so I know I am incredibly lucky. I have had a lot of real highlights, starting with my local province of Southland, then Super Rugby with the Highlanders, coming over to Scotland and playing in a Rugby World Cup, and then my club rugby with Edinburgh and Newcastle Falcons. I’ve loved my time at Newcastle and it’s great to be able to end my career with such an awesome set of boys.

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“The plan is to stay with my partner in Edinburgh because she is from the UK and I have loved my time here. I’m just grateful to have had a career that has allowed me to travel around the world and have so many amazing experiences. I’m just finishing my studies in strength and conditioning, which is the sort of line I’m looking to go down in terms of my future career. Hopefully, that can be in a sports or high-performance setting, but as always I will just work hard and keep an open mind.”

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'Won't miss waking up feeling like roadkill': Ex-Scotland flanker John Hardie confirms retirement

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