Newcastle Falcons prop Scott Wilson has been forced to retire from professional rugby due to injury.
The 24-year-old has made 80 appearances for the Falcons’ first team since coming through the club’s academy, making his debut as an 18-year-old and going on to play for England’s second-string national side, the Saxons.
“I’ve been playing rugby since I was six and my dream was always to play for Newcastle Falcons,” said Wilson, the Berwick native who scored a try in last season’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final victory over Brive.
“Kingston Park Stadium is where I first started watching rugby, my uncle brought me down to watch the games and I used to stand on the North Terrace come rain, shine, hail or snow to watch the Falcons play. To then go on and be able to play for the team I love has been the biggest highlight, and I’ve got no regrets.
“I’m only 24 but having received a neck injury at Exeter in the Premiership semi-final in May, I have now been told by the doctor that I have to retire, which is obviously a huge blow.”
Newcastle Falcons’ director of rugby Dean Richards was quick to highlight Wilson’s positive contribution to the club, saying: “Scott is a much-loved character here and a hugely-talented rugby player, so it is an enormous shame for him to have to retire from the game at such a young age.
“There is a bigger picture to consider from Scott’s point of view in regards to his long-term wellbeing. It wasn’t an easy moment when he broke the news to the rest of the squad, but everyone here places an enormous value on what Scott has given to this club over the years. We wish Scott all the best for the future, and it goes without saying we will support him in whatever way we can.”
Wilson is at pains to credit the countless figures who have assisted him on his journey, saying: “There are so many people who have helped me along the way and it’s impossible to do all of them justice here, but throughout the academy and into the first team I have to say our academy manager Mark Laycock has been brilliant.
“He used to come up to Berwick to do sessions with me and go across to Sedbergh School, which is a fair old trek, but there have been so many people who have supported me in a load of different ways. All of the Falcons medical staff have been outstanding, the guys who are here and those who have moved on over the years, and I’d like to thank every single person who has played any part in helping me and sticking by me.”
Looking to the future, he said: “One thing I do know is that I’ll always be a Newcastle Falcons fan, and I’ll be here in the stands at Kingston Park cheering on the lads like I used to do when I was a kid.
“I’ve loved my time at the Falcons, I thought of it as my club even before I started in the academy here and that will never change.”