Injuries finish off Simpson-Daniel
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 20:10
Obviously the last words I wanted to hear
Former England international wing James Simpson-Daniel's injury-plagued career came to a sad conclusion as he was forced to retire because of an ankle problem.
The 32-year-old Gloucester star - who would have won a lot more than 10 caps but for injuries - had not played since last November when he suffered a dreadful ankle injury playing against Newcastle Falcons.
Even after months of treatment and recuperation a specialist told him that it was best he called it a day.
"When I was given the diagnosis by the specialist, they were obviously the last words I wanted to hear. But I know that I've given it everything and I can't praise the Gloucester Rugby medical staff highly enough," said Simpson-Daniel.
"I don't think it's really sunk in yet to be honest. But I've had a really good trot, I can't have any complaints.
"It would have been nice to have won more trophies with Gloucester, but I've got so many fantastic memories from my time in the game."
Simpson-Daniel still managed to play 250 times for Gloucester - the most Premiership apperances for a player from that club - over 14 campaigns and scored 118 tries although his most memorable one was probably for England against the Barbarians when he left All Black legend Jonah Lomu for dead.
Simpson-Daniel - who joined them straight from school - earned a glowing tribute from Gloucester's Director of Rugby David Humphreys.
"He was a unique talent. I played against him and, even though he was an opponent who could really hurt you on the pitch, he was a joy to watch," said Humphreys, who faced him in European club matches when he was Ulster flyhalf.
"It's a real blow for him and, personally, I'm disappointed that he's had to retire before I had the opportunity to enjoy seeing him play as a colleague," added the 42-year-old, who was capped 72 times by Ireland.
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