The Queensland Reds are reeling from the news stalwart David Croft will retire from all forms of professional rugby at the end of this Super 14 season.
Marc Fox of the Brisbane Times reports that an emotional Croft told teammates of his shock decision last night before fronting for the media this morning.
He revealed he had been thinking about his future more than a year ago but put any thought of retirement on hold after Queensland’s dismal 2007 season.
“I didn’t want to leave the Reds in that position and I still believed that I could help their cause. It’s not in my nature to leaving a sinking ship. I wanted to get to the point where I could see light at the end of the tunnel and I think that’s we are there now,” he said.
“The team means everything to me. Their wellbeing has always been my focus.
“Fronting them last night and informing them of my decision was possibly the toughest thing I’ve had to do.”
The 29-year-old flanker, who played five times for the Wallabies after debuting in 2002, has caught everyone by surprise.
He had one year remaining on his Reds contract and has been playing some of his best rugby after being relegated to the bench for two Super 14 matches earlier in the year.
Last month, Croft explained to brisbanetimes.com.au how he came to terms with his dropping by writing down everything he loved about the sport which had been his livelihood for the past decade.
He realised he needed to relax and enjoy the game more, but has clearly since reassessed his position.
“I would be doing Queensland rugby, my teammates and myself a disservice by playing on if my heart’s not in it. For me, it’s either all or nothing,” Croft said.
“I believe it’s much better making that decision now and giving the Reds time before next season to free up funds to recruit new players.”
The door has now been opened for Reds academy backrower Poutasi Luafutu to cement his position in the run-on side.
Croft, who has played 92 consecutive Super rugby games since 2001, joins Chris Latham (Worcester), Sam Cordingley (Grenoble) and Stephen Moore (Brumbies or Western Force) in exiting Ballymore at the end of the year.
He seems likely to pursue a career in the corporate world.
Croft has been studying for a Bachelor of Business Management at the University of Queensland and also represents rising Australia footballer David Williams for sports management firm International Quarterback.Tweet