The most experienced voice in the Glasgow Warriors dressing room is almost certainly going to be missing next season. Sean Lamont, the wing with more than 100 caps for his country as well as the club, has let it be known he will retire in the summer.
The club have yet to confirm his plans for the future, but at 36, it is clear he is coming towards the end of his time at the top and looking to the next stage in his career, which may potentially involve a move into strength and conditioning work.
“Unless they beg me to stay another year, I think I’m done,” he was quoted as saying. “I have had a great run and enjoyed every single moment but it is time to step aside. I am not going to flog a dead horse, though some might say I’ve been two years dead anyway!
“I love the sport, I love being in it and I love the guys I work with, but I just don’t have the gas anymore. I can’t get through those holes I see. I can still truck it up a distance, but there is definitely a blunting of the axe. It is disappointing it is coming to the end, but I am 36 and I have done pretty well considering, when you look at the guys in the Scotland squad. Even if I was just arriving at my peak I don’t think I would get in the current side.”
Lamont’s career took him from Rotherham to Glasgow in 2003, the year after he had played a starring role for the Scotland sevens team in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. He was an instant hit with 21 tries in 42 games before moving to Northampton and then the Scarlets.
He came back north in 2012 and has gone on to get to his 100th game for Glasgow, not too long after also competing his century for Scotland, for whom he played his 105th and last game as recently as last summer’s tour to Japan.
His influence at Glasgow has been substantial, with the young players able to draw on his knowledge from alomost a decade-and-a-half at the top, as Scott Cummings, the 20-year-old lock explained: “The number of caps he has won for Scotland speaks volumes. He brings a lot of experience into the squad that helps young guys like me who are pushing to try to progress.
“We have a lot of great leaders in the club, and he is one of them. He has experienced lots of different fields of rugby and can bring those different styles and experiences to help us young guys.”
There is still a target for Glasgow to give Lamont one final role on the big stage.
They are 11 points off the end-of-season play offs with just five games to go. They don’t just need to win every game and hope others slip up, they also need bonus points, in particular from their three home games starting this weekend with Connacht.
“There are not too many games left and we are not in the position we want to be,” Cummings added.
“We know that if we play good rugby and stick with what we know we can win games, put more points on and push for the top four, which is where we want to be.”