TIM Taylor has been forced to finally admit defeat in his 16 month battle with a chronic knee problem.
The fly-half has not played since picking up the injury during Gloucester’s A-League semi-final against Harlequins in November 2013.
He has gone under the knife on several occasions and endured countless painstaking periods of rehabilitation but it has been in vein and he has been advised to hang up his boots with immediate effect.
Taylor, 31, said: “It’s been more than a year since my last game against Harlequins in an A-League semi-final and the knee just hasn’t come right.
“I’ve had a couple of operations to try to get it better and I’m still doing a lot of rehab but unfortunately I’ve had to give up playing.
“I felt something in the warm-up before that Harlequins match and it got worst through the game and then next week I couldn’t jog.
“It’s a chondral defect of the bone - a good way to describe it is to say the bone is like an apple and you drop it and it doesn’t crack but bruises.
“I’ve had an operation to try to repair the bone and cartilage, and one to put plugs in there to reinforce it but it’s not worked.”
During his five seasons at Kingsholm, Taylor has made 41 first team appearances for the Cherry and Whites. He has an abundance of memories from his time at the club.
But his appearance from the bench during Gloucester’s LV=Cup triumph over Newcastle Falcons in 2011 tops the lot.
He said: “The LV=Cup was brilliant, being able to win silverware here was excellent and it was a great year all round for us.
“We went hard in all competitions and it was an excellent season. But I’ve loved every minute of my time here and have some great memories that will live on with me.”
Taylor, who also enjoyed stints at Canterbury Crusaders, Leicester Tigers, Saracens and Nottingham, admits he has endured some dark days during his fitness battle.
But given his age he always knew his career was in the balance and was prepared for the worst possible outcome.
He said: “It was really difficult and the hardest time was probably seeing the surgeon for the very first time and him saying that it was a nine month injury.
“I was about 29 then and you think ‘I’m getting on, is this it?’. But they said from the beginning it was potentially career-threatening so I never had false hope.
“My first operation was going to be a nine month recovery period and eight months into that we realised I would need another operation and I knew from there it really could be a career ender.
“You never want to think that and want to carry on playing as long as you can but sometimes you have to think of your future and what’s best for you. I tried my hardest but I’m still struggling to run.”
Given the nature of Taylor’s injury, he had plenty of time to plan for the future. He had already qualified as a level three personal trainer and has steadily built up his business TTPT Performance.
This season he has also been taken on as a skills and kicking coach and continues to work with Cheltenham Tigers RFC.
He added: “I’ve known for a number of weeks but it takes a long time to get your head around it. I’m just really looking forward to the future and what this new career will bring.
“It takes a long time to adjust but I’ve been fortunate to be kept involved in the club helping the boys with kicking and skills. That’s helped and had great support from my wife Jodie and my family and friends.
“It would have been a lot more difficult if it was a retirement out of the blue and that was it, done, out of the game but I’ve been fortunate to stay involved and long may it continue.”