After an 18-year career which saw him featuring in a Rugby World Cup final and winning three Premiership titles, Newcastle Falcons fly-half Toby Flood has retired from playing professional rugby.
The 36-year-old will remain at the Falcons as kicking and skills coach – a role he will combine with studying for his Masters degree in business at Cambridge University.
“Dean Richards and I discussed the idea a little bit towards the end of last season, and as time went on the way my body was, and the fact I was going away to university for parts of the year – it just seemed to make sense,” said Flood, who played 141 times during his two spells with the Falcons.
Winning three Premiership titles during his 119 appearances with Leicester Tigers and earning 60 caps for England, Flood also spent three seasons with French giants Toulouse in a glittering playing career.
In typically self-deprecating fashion, he joked: “It was alright – I think it went okay!
“I made my first-team debut against Wasps in 2004 and we got pumped 83-10 away to Leicester live on TV in my second game – and then my last professional appearance was a big defeat away to Exeter live on TV just to book-end it nicely!
“It’s obviously not the way you would want it to finish, but there were a lot of good times in between.
“A professional rugby career just flies by, and it’s mad to think this was going to be my 18th pre-season. I know a lot of people who haven’t been anywhere near that lucky, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had such a long stint.
“There’s a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from every stop on that journey, and too many people to thank. The good wins are the ones that create the best memories and the bad losses are the ones that tend to stick in your mind more – but it was fun while it lasted.”
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