Worcester Warriors: Giant lock Craig Gillies calls it a day at 37

Craig Gillies

Record-breaking Worcester forward Craig Gillies has changed his mind about staying at Sixways for another season by opting to retire from rugby at 37.

The giant Scottish lock was hoping to add to his club record 288 appearances after signing a new one-year contract for the 2013-14 season back in March.

But, in his testimonial year, he has now decided to stop immediately.

"I'd have loved to get to 300 games but there's no guarantee I'd have made it," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"In the big scheme of things, I feel there's been enough rugby played - 288 games is an awful lot of time on the pitch.

"A unique opportunity has been presented to me to look to the future. And it truly feels like the time is right for me to make this move.

"It's been a difficult decision to make as I always knew it would be tough to stop playing. Physically, I feel I could continue for a few more years. But it will be great to put more energy and time into my own health and nutrition business, which is rapidly expanding.

"It also gives me more time to see what develops with my testimonial year, as I know my testimonial committee have a great calendar of events planned."

Paisley-born, 6 ft 8 in Gillies, who grew up in Devon, started his career with Bath, spending three seasons at The Rec before joining Richmond for three years.

He then spent two seasons at Llanelli before moving to Sixways in 2002, since when he has been a regular for most of those 11 seasons - breaking the club's appearance record in the modern era.

But, after appearing mostly off the bench under Richard Hill last season, his game time was likely to have proved even less under new coach Dean Ryan, who arrived in May.

"For many years Craig was simply the first name on the teamsheet," said Warriors executive chairman Cecil Duckworth.

"I always remember our first promotion season to the Premiership in 2004 when he was immense.

"Craig will always stand alongside the likes of Tony Windo and Pat Sanderson as true legends at Warriors."

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