Allan JACOBSEN insists he has no regrets about retiring as Scotland’s most-capped rugby prop forward.
The 34-year-old walked away from the international scene earlier this season just ahead of the Autumn Test series.
And, while the decision might have initially been made easier by the team’s struggle for results, a recent revival has occurred with back-to-back Six Nations victories over Italy and Ireland.
Despite being full of admiration for the way the national side have turned their fortunes around under Scott Johnson, the Edinburgh stalwart, universally known as “Chunk”, insisted: “I thought it was going to be hard to watch but I haven’t found it that way at all.
“In the past, when I have been injured and not able to play, I found it really frustrating watching Edinburgh or Scotland. But in the weeks after I made my call I just didn’t want to be watching; I knew then I’d made the right decision.
“I just knew it was time. I didn’t feel it (being part of the international scene) was me any more. Rather than just drag it on and do it for the sake of it, I called a halt.
“I didn’t want to go through the motions for myself, the jersey or the fans.
“Of course the commitment is hard, especially when you have a family with all the time away at training camps and so on.
“But I’m not knocking that. You get a lot out of it as well.
“I don’t know if I really planned my international retirement. It just came to me that it was time to move on – simple as that.
“Now I’m happy with the way I feel physically. I’ve not been playing as much and at this time in the season, I’ve had a lot more time off as I did during the Autumn series. I feel good just now.”
It is Allan’s plan to seek a contract extension at Edinburgh – the only professional club he has represented, and if a deal is done he could well go on to crack the 10,000-minute barrier in RaboDirect PRO 12 fixtures. Currently, Chunk has played 9090 career minutes with Connacht’s John Muldoon leading the way on 9956 although his three Irish caps compares with the 65 occasions on which Jacobsen has been away representing Scotland.
“I’m hoping to play another year, and at Edinburgh, all things being equal,” said the former Preston Lodge prospect, who has made 72 European Cup appearances.
“As to the future and maybe coaching, who knows?
“I’m just concentrating on playing and one of the things I am enjoying is being around young props like Robin Hislop and Alex Allan as they begin to come through the ranks.”
Like Jacobsen against ACT Brumbies back in the 1990s, Hislop was a teenager when debuting for Edinburgh.
Jacobsen added: “Robin always gets stuck in and you can’t ask any more than that.
“Higher up, Geoff Cross did brilliantly in the Scotland front row against Ireland and it is going to be a very hard decision for coach Scott Johnson when Euan Murray becomes available again for the Welsh match.
“People are asking how Ireland didn’t win but the way Scotland defended, it didn’t matter how much ball the opposition had. They couldn’t have done anything with it.” It will be the first Welsh fixture Jacobsen has missed since 2005 but he is odds-on to renew acquaintance with the Principality on Friday when Edinburgh visit Llanelli Scarlets.
When he takes the field, Jacobsen will equal Al Kellock’s record of 142 appearances for a Scottish club and Chunk is desperate to mark the occasion with the win that would end Edinburgh’s ten-match losing streak.
“There’s no point in lying, we have not played well,” he said. “Things haven’t happened as people were expecting. For the last couple of weeks I feel we are improving but just can’t get that win. It’s been a long time and that’s not good for anyone – us or the fans.
“We’ve just got to battle on.
“Rugby is a simple game where there is a fine line between doing really well and doing badly.
“We’ll keep fighting.”
n ALLAN JACOBSEN was speaking at the launch of Bring a Pound to Work day organised by the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland for their national fundraising day on Thursday, March 7.