Bell considers his retirement
LYDNEY head coach and former England prop Duncan Bell will make a decision about whether to retire from playing in the summer.
The Severnsiders’ boss suffered a broken eye socket and concussion on January 5 against Canterbury after his side’s three-match winning run was ended in National Two South.
It was the first broken bone of the 38-year-old’s 17-season playing career and coupled with his first torn hamstring earlier in the season, Bell says enough may be enough.
He is currently ruled out for six weeks and with the last match of the season on April 27, Bell says his future may come down to whether he needs surgery.
But having gone under the knife plenty of times in his career, Bell says he wants to retire on his own terms.
“It will be my 15th surgery and I’ve had enough,” Bell said.
“I’ve been there and done that and I don’t want to do it again so if I were to carry on then it would definitely need doing.
“I said as soon as I broke my face that was it, I’ve had enough. I’ve only had four stitches in my whole career and I’ve been really lucky.
“I’m 38 now and that’s old for a rugby player and to have played professionally for that long.
“I’ve had a good innings, but I still love the game and I think I can still manage to do it at this level.
“I’m deteriorating as a rugby player, I know that. I know that I’m getting older and slower.
“But when do you hang your boots up and say enough is enough?
“Do you become a bit like, not that I liken myself to Mohammad Ali or anyone like that, but quite clearly he went on too long.
“You see other boxers and they always want to come back for more.
“Audley Harrison keeps losing and I don’t want to be Audley Harrison and keep coming back for one more game.
“I don’t want people saying ‘oh why is Belly still playing, he used to be a good player but he has gone downhill’.”
The injury is currently causing Bell to suffer with double vision in his eye which affects him while driving and if he were packing down for a scrum.
It may help his decision that Lydney have recently signed a few props meaning they can boast Andy Jarrett, Sam Winchcombe, Adam Ledner, Ollie Day and Leigh Green in the front-row department.
That could leave Bell to concentrate on his coaching career, which he began only last summer, and he knows they would be left in good hands.
“The whole side of my face is numb and I’ve got double vision at times as well which indicates the muscle of the eye is getting trapped,” he added.
“I still have a slight bit of marking underneath the eye but I got away lightly really.
“I did it a week before my wedding day which did not go down very well with the new wife!
“I was very lucky that I only had a little bit of marking above the eye and a bit under the eye.
“You see a lot of people who have broken their eye sockets who have a completely closed eye.
“I will sit down and wait and see and then reassess in the summer.
“We have a lot of props at the club now so if I did step up to the upper echelons of coaching then we have some good guys there.”