Bulloch quits to sell shoes

ALAN Bulloch has retired from professional rugby at the age of 26 to concentrate on a new career selling children’s shoes.

The Glasgow centre, who won five caps for Scotland, played his last game in his club’s defeat by Munster at Hughenden last week and confirmed he will start his new job almost immediately.

"The irony is that I have been performing pretty well over the past few months," said Bulloch, "but the truth is that I have not been enjoying my rugby as much as I should have been.

"Since Christmas, I have been thinking about laying foundations for my future and I have been handed certain business opportunities which are too good to ignore."

Bulloch, who toured Australia and Fiji with Scotland six years ago, denied that he had suffered from being in the shadow of brother Gordon, who has become the country’s most-capped hooker.

He said: "I have never had an inferiority complex in that respect. No one has been more chuffed about Gordon’s success than I.

"He has been a fantastic team-mate at West of Scotland, Glasgow and Scotland - but above all else, he has been a great friend and inspiration to me in the sport."

Bulloch will fill the role of account manager for Startrite in Scotland and the north of England. He hopes to keep on playing on the club scene, probably with GHA.

"I had hoped to be involved in Glasgow’s match this weekend against Leinster in Dublin, but coach Hugh Campbell told me he had decided to leave me out because he needs to prepare for the future," said Bulloch.

"His approach was understandable and I will be available to him for the rest of the season if he needs me.

"In the meantime, I may be involved in GHA’s important delayed Premiership match against Boroughmuir instead.

"People have asked me if I will get into the coaching scene. It is difficult to say at the moment because I have to focus all my attention on my new career."

Like his elder brother, Alan was among the first group of professional players in Scottish rugby in 1996. Since the revamping of the Scottish professional teams two years later, Alan has set a Glasgow record of 125 appearances. His first Scotland cap was won in the autumn international against the United States at Murrayfield and he scored a try in the subsequent match against Samoa. His last cap was in the 43-3 defeat against England at Twickenham in 2001.

"We’re sorry to lose Alan," said coach Campbell. "He has been an exemplary servant for Glasgow rugby over the years, and we wish him well." Glasgow will name their team to face Leinster today.

• A disciplinary hearing to investigate disrepute charges against former Springbok captain Corne Krige was postponed yesterday to allow the prosecution more time to prepare their case.

Krige is charged with breaching the South African Rugby Football Union code of conduct following a series of articles and comments in the media which criticised the union’s administration of the game.

• Wallaby prop Patricio Noriega has ended a 13-year career at the top after playing 25 tests for Argentina and then 24 for Australia. The 32-year-old immigrant from Argentina has battled a chronic back injury which kept him out of most of the 2003 Super-12 season for the New South Wales Waratahs and has also ruled him out of this year’s tournament.

• Bath have agreed a new two-year contract with England fly-half Olly Barkley, seeing off a substantial offer from one of their rivals in the process.

Barkley was said to be the latest name on Saracens’ recruitment wish-list which has recently seen the club lure - among others - Alex Sanderson, Hugh Vyvyan and Dan Scarbrough to Vicarage Road.