Newcastle Falcons’ centre Alex Crockett has called time on his professional rugby career, describing the next chapter of his life as ‘exciting’ as he considers embarking on a coaching career.
The former England Under-21, England Saxon, Bath Rugby, Bristol Rugby and Worcester Warriors player announced his retirement today after being limited to just a handful of games this season.
Making his debut for Bath Rugby in 2001, Crockett went on to make 125 appearances for the club, including a season as co-Captain in 2008-09, before joining Worcester Warriors in 2010.
His first season with Worcester was instrumental, playing a key role in helping the Warriors land a spot back in the Aviva Premiership.
After only appearing in one of Worcester’s matches in 2011-12, Crockett joined Newcastle in the summer of 2012, proving a positive asset as the club returned to the Aviva Premiership with an impressive season in the Greene King IPA Championship.
But with little game time in season 2013-14, the 32 year-old believes it’s the perfect time to hang up his boots and move on.
“I think in the end it came down to an accumulation of picking up a lot of injuries throughout my career,” said Crockett.
“With my knees not what they used to be, I was starting to struggle to get by week to week. When you feel like you can’t contribute, it’s probably time to call it a day. I think Sam Vesty said it perfectly when he retired, that when the game got faster he got slower, and I think that’s the same for me.
“I have really appreciated all of the support I have received at Newcastle Falcons, and I wish I could have spent more time on the field with such a great group of players. I was incredibly honoured to have captained Bath and I will always remember how proud I was to be part of a Challenge Cup winning side. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, especially my friends and family.’’
While his playing days have come to an end, Crockett says he is looking forward to a different role in the sport, with an ambition to coach at either school or club level.
“I’m really excited about the future and want to now get into school or club coaching, and use my rugby knowledge and level three coaching qualification to help students not just on the rugby pitch but also in the class room. I still have an open mind about other avenues I might go down as you never know what opportunities can come to light.”
Crockett became the Rugby Players’ Association player representative for Falcons at the start of this season and said the experience gave great insight into life after rugby.
He said: “The RPA player rep role has been great for me this season. I have really enjoyed getting involved in that side of things and learning what goes on behind the scenes. It’s been a really engaging role that has opened my eyes to what lies ahead after rugby.”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “I speak on behalf of everyone associated with the club in wishing Alex well for the future. He played his part in our promotion back to the Aviva Premiership in 2013 and this season has unfortunately been hampered by injury.”