Jackson Wray: Saracens back-row to hang up his boots at end of season as one of the club’s most decorated players

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Jackson Wray Saracens Premiership 2021 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Jackson Wray Saracens Premiership 2021 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Long-serving Saracens back-row Jackson Wray has announced his decision to retire at the end of the current season, bringing to an end a 15-year career.

The 32-year-old is only the fifth player to make over 300 appearances for a club and has been on Saracens’ books since he was a teenager.

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One of Sarries’ most decorated players

He is one of the most decorated players in Saracens’ history and has won five Premiership and three Champions Cup titles.

Wray, who has been at Saracens since the age of 15, was part of the club’s’ 2008 academy team alongside players like Owen Farrell, Jamie George, George Kruis and Will Fraser.

After a loan stint at Bedford Blues, Wray became a regular at Saracens from 2011 onwards, and has been a vital cog in the Sarries machine as he has been in their matchday squad for all seven of the successful finals when he was available for selection.

Wray was included in the Premiership Rugby Team of the Year in the 2016/17 season, when he helped Saracens retain the Champions Cup and he also walked off with the North London club’s Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Season awards.

He is hoping his time at the Premiership outfit will end in more success before the end of the season.

“After 15 years at this fantastic club, it is the right time for me to retire from rugby and pursue interests that I have been building towards during my career,” Wray told Saracens’ official website.

“There are of course far too many people to thank, so to everyone at the club over my time here, players, coaches, supporters, and in particular Nigel Wray who laid the foundations for what has been the best time of my life, thank you.

“To my family, my wife Leanne, my parents and my amazing children, I couldn’t have done this without you and I will be forever grateful for your support.

“The memories I have made, whether it be on or off the pitch will live with me forever. It would be difficult to single out any particular moments but of course the trophies that we won and the off-field times with all the players over the years will always be near the top of the list.

“To run out at StoneX Stadium so many times has been a true honour and I would like to say to the supporters, you truly are the best and the commitment you have shown is absolutely incredible.

“I’ll still be a familiar face on match days cheering on the boys so I look forward to seeing you all for many more years to come.”

Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, hailed Wray’s influence as a player at the club.

“Jackson embodies everything that is good about Saracens – hard working, tough, resilient, consistent and team first always. He has had an extraordinary impact and influence on our club and is hugely respected and admired by all players and staff, past and present,” he said.

“Jacko has not only been at the heart of the club’s biggest moments but has also led the way in many international windows and our younger players have benefitted hugely from his experience and his example in these periods.

“We want to thank him for all he has done for our club and wish him, Leanne, Harper, Colby, Blake and Hudson all the very best for what comes next.”

Nigel Wray also paid tribute to back-row Wray’s impact at the club.

‘Privilege to see him grow’

“I first met Jackson some 15 years ago when he and Will Fraser were at the South African Institute of Sport just outside Cape Town,” he said. “He was then an impressive young man and it’s been a real privilege to see him grow over the years not just as a hugely impressive rugby player but also as a quality human being.

“Some years ago I was driving away from the Leicester Tigers ground, after we had won there, and I noticed that Jackson was in the adjacent car, driving, and he had obviously left the ground quite early after the game having showered etc.

“I mentioned to him that he’d obviously left early and asked why. His reply was that he wanted to be back home for bath time! That must give you a pretty good idea of what a quality family man he is.”

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The article Jackson Wray: Saracens back-row to hang up his boots at end of season as one of the club’s most decorated players appeared first on Planetrugby.com.