Andy Nicol set to retire
March 11, 2003

Former Scotland captain Andy Nicol has announced his retirement from the game at the end of the current season.

Nicol, who will be 32 tomorrow, won 23 caps for Scotland over a 10-year period and was the first British player to lift the European Cup when he captained Bath to victory in 1998.

The Glasgow Warriors scrum-half will now concentrate on a new role as director of events with, who organise various rugby-related packages for supporters.

Nicol said: ``I think the time is right for me to move on and further my career outwith the playing side of the game.

``I am interested in moving into coaching, but I also have a number of business opportunities available to me.''

Nicol last played for Scotland in the defeat by New Zealand in November 2001 after making his debut in the Calcutta Cup against England in 1992.

He skippered Ian McGeechan's side to the famous April 2000 win over England which denied Clive Woodward's team the Grand Slam.

But Nicol will be best remembered for helping Bath defeat Brive in a thrilling 19-18 European Cup final win five years ago.

The 31-year-old also won two caps with the British Lions when he played on tour in New Zealand and was a surprise call-up to the bench in 2001 while working as a rugby tour guide in Australia.

Nicol said: ``I am taking up a position as Director of Events with, who are working in conjunction with Scottish Rugby (Union) to form Scottish Rugby Events.

``In addition, I will continue to pursue my career in the media, and with my management company 110sport Ltd.''

Nicol believes missing out on a fourth World Cup could be too much to take after announcing his decision to retire.

The Glasgow Warriors scrum-half, who will be 32 tomorrow, has announced his decision to quit after 10 years at the top level.

Nicol has won the European Cup with Bath, been capped 23 times and helped stop England complete the Grand Slam in 2000.

But Nicol concedes his failure to become part of the international squad for their World Cup preparations has hurt.

Nicol was not selected for the 1991 competition and a medial ligament injury to his knee cost him a place in 1995.

Then, in 1999, he missed out on selection again when Scotland coach Jim Telfer opted for Iain Fairley instead alongside Gary Armstrong and Bryan Redpath at scrum-half.

Now Nicol concedes missing out again on selection would prove too much for him.

Nicol said: ``Age hasn't really got anything to do with my decision because I feel I could play at the top level for another few seasons, although in the last year I've picked up a few niggling injuries which have taken time to recover.

``I have few regrets in my career, but missing out on playing in the World Cup - one of my career goals when I started - for a fourth time has meant some of the spark and incentive for playing the game has gone.''

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan believes Nicol's role in helping the game when the super-districts were formed in 1999 cannot be underestimated.

He said: ``He has been a great ambassador for Scottish rugby, particularly from the period when the game became professional as he was a role model for the new generation of players.

``Andy was always a delight to coach and he has made a huge contribution to players' understanding and in keeping our game moving forward.''

Glasgow Rugby chief executive David Jordan is hopeful Nicol will continue to play some part in the professional team's make-up after playing 71 games for the club.

He said: ``Glasgow Rugby will be sorry to see Andy leaving our squad as he has been an inspirational player and captain for us.

``There was a possibility of him continuing with us, however, we fully understand his decision to pursue a new career and everyone at Glasgow Rugby wishes him great success with his new business ventures.

``Hopefully, Andy will continue to play a part with Glasgow Rugby as we have discussed the possibility of him getting involved in our promotional activities.''

Scotland team-mate Gregor Townsend insists Nicol was unfortunate to be playing at a time when scrum-halves were in abundance at international level.

He said: ``Scottish rugby has been very lucky to have had a number of exceptional scrum-halves over the last decade and it speaks volumes for Andy's tenacity and skill that, not only has he battled against his rivals, but he's recovered from serious injury too to excel at the highest level of the game.''


1971: Born March 12, Dundee.

1992: Wins first Scotland cap against England in the Five Nations.

1993: Skippers first of three Scottish tours to the South Pacific and joins the British Lions in New Zealand as a replacement for injured Robert Jones making one appearance.

1997: Captains Scotland for the first time in Test match against Australia before joining Lions tour of South Africa.

1998: Leads Bath to European Cup in 19-18 victory over Brive.

1999: Joins Glasgow Caledonians from Bath.

2000: Guides Scotland to first Calcutta Cup win for 10 years at Murrayfield before leading Scottish tour party to New Zealand.

2001: July - Drafted onto the bench for the final Lions Test against Australia after touring country as a supporter.

November - Plays last Scotland international against New Zealand.

2003: March 11 - Announces retirement from the game at the end of the season.

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