'Devastated' Lawson is forced to call time on his ten-year career
A CHRONIC wrist injury has forced defensive lynchpin scrum-half Rory Lawson into premature retirement.
The combative half-back left Gloucester for Newcastle Falcons last summer, after six fruitful years at Kingsholm.
The 31-cap Scotland battler was gearing up for Newcastle's Premiership return under Dean Richards, until medics told him he must admit defeat and end his impressive ten-year career.
Widely respected among Cherry and Whites staff and supporters for his dogged approach, 32-year-old Lawson joins a growing list of experienced hands forced out of the game before time.
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After helping the Falcons to the Championship title last term, legendary Scottish commentator Bill McLaren's grandson was itching to get cracking on his top-flight return.
Lawson helped Gloucester to the 2011 Premiership play-offs under Bryan Redpath, racking up 149 Kingsholm appearances in all.
"I am absolutely devastated that an injury has forced me to retire from the game that has been my life for the past decade," Lawson lamented.
"However, I feel hugely privileged to have been able to enjoy such a long and successful career doing something that I love.
"While I wish I could continue playing for a few more years, I have to accept what the surgeon has told me and that it isn't possible to play at this level any more.
"I consider myself so lucky to have been able to captain my country, play in two World Cups and be part of some amazingly talented squads, most recently at Newcastle Falcons and previously at Gloucester and Edinburgh.
"Not many people get to experience some of the sporting highs I have been fortunate enough to experience and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me every step of the way."
Lawson's enforced exit swells the ranks of those dragged kicking and screaming from the professional game.
Last term Gloucester's peerless lineout leader Alex Brown sustained nerve damage in his shoulder so severe it proved inoperable, hence ending his Kingsholm spell at just 33.
Former Gloucester half-back partner Nicky Robinson hailed Lawson as one of the best nines in the game.
Robinson said: "Rory's all-round footballing skills put him up there with the best international scrum-halves in the game.
"He had so much natural ability and was able to see gaps before they appeared, which was a massive strength."