London Irish: Chris Noakes almost quit rugby after injury

Chris Noakes
Noakes has made two starts for London Irish since joining in the summer

London Irish fly-half Chris Noakes says the neck injury he sustained last year nearly led him to quit rugby.

The 29-year-old New Zealander arrived from Auckland Blues over the summer, and has made two starts for the Exiles.

Noakes suffered a prolapsed disc in his neck during a gym session last year and considered his future in the sport.

"It was something that scared me a lot. I needed to take a lot of time to think about whether I wanted to play rugby again," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

London Irish fly-half Chris Noakes:
"We have a goal of being near the top and as far as I'm concerned we should be in the play-offs."

"The neck injury was very unique and interesting but it's not something you mess around with."

Auckland-born Noakes, who has also played for Otago and Bay of Plenty, joined Blues in 2013 from Highlanders.

After suffering his neck injury, he returned to action in February to play in Blues' Super Rugby opener.

"I slipped a disk in my neck," he added. "It was in the gym - I seem to get injured in innocuous ways.

Chris Noakes
Noakes is an accomplished goalkicker with an excellent record in Super Rugby

"It was a significant recovery period. I spent a month in a neck brace and then another five months in rehab before coming back. I've not had any setbacks but it was a nervous time."

Noakes has degrees in law and commerce and would have moved into the legal profession if he had retired from rugby.

"I spent eight months working in a law firm so it's something I have to fall back on when I stop running around a field," he said.

"Knowing I have something behind me alleviates the stress of what is to come."

Noakes believes his new club are capable of sealing a place in the Premiership play-offs after struggling last season.

"I want to establish myself in the first team and be consistent," he said. "We have a goal of being near the top and as far as I'm concerned we should be in the play-offs."

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