Scotland hooker Scott Lawson set to hang up his boots

Scott Lawson won 47 caps for Scotland. Picture: Lynne Cameron/Getty
Scott Lawson won 47 caps for Scotland. Picture: Lynne Cameron/Getty
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Scotland hooker Scott 
Lawson is determined to end his professional rugby career on a high in the coming weeks with Newcastle Falcons after the 36-year-old announced his retirement.

The Falcons have the English Premiership play-offs to come – visiting Exeter in the last four on 19 May – and the man who played for his country 47 times would like to bow out in style.

Lawson will then relocate from the north of England to Fife to become director of rugby at the University of St Andrews.

The recall to the Scotland ranks earlier this year – after a four-year break – almost delayed this decision, but he feels the time is right.

Lawson’s rugby career began at his local club Biggar and went on to see him play with Melrose and then excel in the professional ranks for 
Glasgow Warriors, Sale Sharks, Gloucester and 
London Irish before joining the Falcons in the summer of 2013.

“I’ve played professional rugby for a long, long time, and I don’t want to play for too long. Now feels like the right time, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and I’ve been given an outstanding opportunity at the University of St Andrews,” said Lawson.

“Getting the Scotland recall at that stage in my career was a really nice way to finish. It’s the most recent memory and it’s one I’m very proud of. It definitely made the decision harder. It came at a time when I’d almost parked my ambition to play for 
Scotland after four years of not playing.

“At the age I am now, to then be given that opportunity, to experience the atmosphere of being involved again in Six Nations matches at BT 
Murrayfield and all the emotion and pride that goes with it, made it even harder to turn my back on it and move on.

“For a lad from Biggar and being the first from the club to be capped for Scotland, I’ve really enjoyed my journey, from the first cap to my last.

“My wife Ella has been a huge support throughout my whole career, and it’s great with my new job that I’ll be able to work in rugby, but still have more of a chance to spend time with my family.

“As a professional sportsman you do sacrifice a lot of that family time, but I’m still able to stay in the sport now and maintain a bit more of a balance.”

Alongside his playing commitments with the Falcons in recent years, Lawson took up Elite specialist skills coach roles with Scottish Rugby before being appointed as director of rugby at National Two North club Tynedale. “It is of course great timing to start this new role at St Andrews, but this has also been three or four seasons in the making,” he explained.

“I studied towards a leadership and management degree while I was still playing, I’ve done my coaching qualifications, specialist skills roles with Scottish Rugby and was the director of rugby at 
Tynedale.

“This was something that I wanted to go into and it has taken a lot of foresight to get here, which meant that the timing of the opportunity almost made the decision for me.”

He added: “To be a professional sportsman and to play for Scotland requires a ridiculous amount of sacrifice.

“The length of career I’ve had means a lot of it blurs into one but I’ll carry the lessons I’ve learned throughout that whole process into future life – hard work, resilience, how you conduct yourself, handling highs and lows.”

And he is excited about the play-offs with Newcastle.

“That’s the thing, at the end of the regular season you think you’re retiring but then you’re in play-off rugby,” he said.

“From a ticking-a-box perspective, we at Newcastle have played in Philadelphia, we’ve won at Kingsholm, the Rec, Franklin’s Gardens, Welford Road, had cracking home form all season and have reached the semi-finals, it’s been one of the most successful seasons for myself on the pitch.

“Add on being involved in the squad that won the Calcutta Cup, and the campaign as a whole, and it’s been an amazing season and it’s still not over.”