England wing forced to retire
July 18, 2008
England and Sale Sharks wing Steve Hanley has been forced to retire from playing due to a back injury sustained in a club match against Bayonne last season, Sale have revealed.
Hanley, who joined Sale in 1998 from Aspatria, announced his retirement at the launch of his testimonial at Edgeley Park.
He made his debut against Cardiff and played 191 matches for Sale, scoring 104 tries including a record of 75 in the Premiership which still stands.
Hanley also played for England in 1999 against Wales at Wembley and scored a try.
In the same match he was memorably handed off by Wales lock Craig Quinnell, and sustained a broken arm. At one stage in his career he went off to train with RL side St Helens to improve his defence.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sale Sharks and have some great memories playing for the club," Hanley said.
"Helping the club to its first piece of silverware [the European Shield] in 2002, by beating Pontypridd was very special.
"I have however been struggling with a disc problem in my back, since the Bayonne game and have received medical advice in that I will not recover enough to be able to play Premiership rugby again. Sale Sharks have been good to me and I have always given my best for the team."
Former team mate Jason Robinson said: " It was a pleasure to play in the same team as Steve, he is a great lad and as his statistics show, one of the best finishers in the game."
Details Of Hanley's Testimonial Year can be found on www.stevehanley.co.uk