Telling my mates was worse than I imagined
It was worse than I could ever have imagined.
I was never looking forward to it but I always thought once I had done it, it would put things to bed.
I thought if I composed myself and got through it I would be okay but as soon as I drove into Hartpury I was getting emotional and from there it was all a bit of a blur.
Speaking to the lads I really struggled to keep it together and driving out reality really kicked in.
The players were all as good as gold.
I have been there as a player when someone is trying to announce their retirement, several friends have done it recently.
These are the guys you train with every day and you’re just gutted for them.
It really hurt. You know the score but you haven’t actually had to say it in front of people.
I’ve had so many messages of goodwill and the amount of Tweets has been overwhelming.
I was scrolling through them and have been replying to as many as I can but the last time I looked there was more than 700!
But these people have gone out of their way to speak to me, a lot of them have been there during the last 13 years and shared in that journey.
It’s really hard to find the words to describe how it feels but it means a lot and if I don’t manage to tweet everyone back personally I just want to express my thanks.
Speaking to guys like Hazey (Andy Hazell) really helps and confirms the emotions I am going through are normal which is reassuring!
THERE was some bone bruising and the theory was the pamindronate treatment would sort it out.
It is an IV drip that is quite often used to treat cancer and I spent two and a half hours in London attached to this machine.
It wasn’t very nice and on the train home I started getting a flu-like sweat but I thought I could cope with it.
The next day however I woke up feeling awful, my bones were aching and I was ill for five days.
It was really nasty stuff which I wouldn’t want to have to do again and unfortunately that last resort treatment wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t down to just the bruising, there was just too much damage to the ankle with four separate, serious injuries.
I obviously dislocated the ankle, I had a spiral fracture which also cut a very big internal gash and two bones in the ankle which are meant to run parallel were outward facing.
There was just too much damage which couldn’t be repaired.
Creating tries was always a thrill - it's the 10 in me
AS I said yesterday it’s all still a bit raw to sit back and think about the highlights of my career but there are always things that standout.
My debut off the bench against Northampton Saints will always be special and then the one people remember at home against Rotherham. Scoring a try and the way I was received by the supporters was unbelievable.
They erupted in deafening noise and to think it was for me was fantastic.
But it is also the little things like my first touch in that game where Mike Umaga, the brother of All Black great Tana, took my head off.
All the boys piled in to him and as an 18-year-old I instantly felt that togetherness of being part of a special team.
A lot of people have been talking about two tries since I announced my retirement.
The one I set-up for James Bailey against Wasps and the one I scored against Jonah Lomu and the Barbarians but with the way I am I can only think of the negatives!
With the Wasps try I might have turned Lawrence Dallaglio inside-out but as he always points out they won that game.
The try did however mean a lot to me – it has never been about dotting the ball down.
I’m fortunate to be the club’s top try-scorer but I’m just happy to contribute to the team and that’s perhaps the fly-half mentality in me, I have always got just as much, if not more, satisfaction from creating tries than touching down myself.
Then the try for England I always have to point out that the next time I played Lomu I missed a tackle or two and was added to the list of his victims.
With that dummy I just didn’t know I was going to do it. We had called a switch from the scrum but when the ball came to be it was just a reaction to dummy.
I was very lucky that it came off, if big Jonah had caught me I would have looked incredibly stupid throwing the ball up in the air like that.
The crowd at Twickenham would have thought I was the worst player ever!
I’m told I have made more appearances and scored more tries than any other Gloucester players and that’s something I am very proud of.
One day I will look back and appreciate what a good career I have had but I still feel there could have been more.
If it wasn’t for injuries in the last couple of seasons I could have passed the 300 mark for appearances which would have been an amazing milestone so that is another twinge of disappointment.