Aviva Premiership
George Chuter calls time on long career
ESPN Staff
April 14, 2014
Leicester's George Chuter is wrapped up, Scarlets v Leicester Tigers, Anglo-Welsh Cup, Parc Y Scarlets, Wales, February 3, 2013
Over and out ... © Getty Images

Veteran Leicester hooker George Chuter has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.

Chuter, who will turn 38 in July, made his debut for Saracens when he was 21 and joined Leicester in 2000, going on to play 292 first-team games. His record of 262 Premiership appearances was overtaken by Steve Borthwick on Saturday.

He took part in seven Premiership finals, a record he shares with former Tigers club captain Geordan Murphy, was part of a Leicester squad which has reached four European Cup finals and won 24 caps for England. Chuter also won a Knockout Cup with Saracens.

"I've not really been able to sit back and reflect until now," he said. "Now I can finally get a bit of perspective and think about how long I've played the game, how many matches and how many training sessions I've been involved in. The longest period of time I've been unable to play was three weeks when I had a knee cartilage trimmed after the 2007 World Cup.

"To play nearly 300 games for Leicester and 100 for Saracens before that, plus 40 for England at various levels, gives me great pride. I get great satisfaction, too, from the knowledge that I've turned up for work every day and tried to get better and tried to help my team-mates get better too. It's not just about the rugby, it's being part of the group with some really good mates before and after training.

"I had a great time with Saracens in my early days just after the game had gone professional, then had a year out before joining Leicester Tigers. Despite the fact Richard Cockerill and Dorian West were still playing when I first came here, it spurred me on to compete with them and to try to become a better player.

"A lot of guys move around to find fresh challenges but I've always had my challenges here. Every day has been a challenge and that has kept me fresh and eager for so many years."

Cockerill, who is now Leicester's director of rugby, said: "George has played in some very successful teams and enjoyed many great days with this club. He's a popular guy in the squad and with supporters, but first and foremost he has been an outstanding professional and a quality player.

"To play so many games at the top level of the club game, as well as internationally, and with the competition he has faced throughout his career, shows just how good a player he has been. It also speaks volumes for his character and his approach to his work."

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