Kilted Kiwi Scotland flanker John Hardie “is sure to feel killed on the road”
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New Zealand-born flanker John Hardie, indicted for Scotland against England in a Six Nations match in 2016. Hardie retires from rugby at 32.
Former Highlanders and Scotland flanker John Hardie hangs up his boots at 32, but plans to stay in Edinburgh to eventually pursue a career as a strength and conditioning coach.
Hardie, who made 16 caps for Scotland between 2015 and 2017, has confirmed he will retire from all rugby at the end of the Newcastle Falcons’ English Premiership season.
Former Highlanders flanker John Hardie won his first selection for Scotland in 2015 before playing for a Scottish club.
The Southlander said he “will be sure to feel killed on the road on a Sunday morning” but he had enjoyed his career and had “nothing but gratitude for what rugby has given me”.
“I think I could play another year or two, but with the way the body is and the time it takes to recover between games – I just think it’s a good time to move on to another career “Hardie said on the Newcastle Falcons website.
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“It has to happen someday, so I had better decide it on my own terms. I feel like I’m playing rugby well and I just don’t want to stay or hang on for too long. ”
Hardie said his style was to “throw it all in” on the pitch, but now it takes “pretty much all week” to physically recover from every game.
Hardie, born in Lumsden, has been playing professional rugby since 2007, making his Southland debut shortly after leaving Southland Boy’s High School.
He played 65 games for the Stags between 2007 and 2014 and played 53 times for the Highlanders, sharing their triumph for the 2015 Super Rugby title (although he was injured for the final).
Hardie moved to Britain in 2015 and immediately qualified for Scotland thanks to a Fife-born grandmother.
The 103kg openside won his first Scottish selection against Italy in August 2015 – before signing for Edinburgh – and was included in the Scottish Rugby World Cup squad.
His 16th and final test appearance was in June 2017 against Fiji in Suva. He scored three tries for Scotland.
Hardie made headlines in Scotland in January 2017 when he was praised for prosecuting and detaining a suspected shoplifter at an Edinburgh shopping center.
He was back in the news later that year when he was suspended for three months by the Scottish Rugby Union for serious misconduct in November 2017 after allegedly using cocaine.
The former Highlanders forward did not fail a drug test, but faced disciplinary action nonetheless.
Hardie then apologized for his actions and, following his forced resignation, returned to Scotland’s Six Nations squad in 2018, although he did not get a game.
He continued to play for Edinburgh, but was released at the end of the 2018 season.
Hardie then signed for Newcastle, making 16 first-row appearances in the Falcons back row.
Dean Richards, Newcastle rugby manager and former No.8 English and British and Irish Lions, praised Hardie’s “fantastic career” and his three-year contribution to the North East England club.
“He has been an exceptional professional during this time, and in addition to his exploits on the field, he passed on his knowledge and contributed to a really positive culture within the team,” said Richards.
Hardie said rugby had been his life and had “given me so much” since signing his first professional contract at the age of 17 or 18.
“I owe my family an incredible amount for the way they have supported me throughout, and it has taken me to amazing places. I made some amazing friends that I’ll keep in touch with, and I’ve done so many cool things through my involvement in the sport. ”
Hardie recalled “a lot of real highlights” over a 14-year career, “starting with my home province of Southland, then Super Rugby with the Highlanders, coming to Scotland and competing in a Rugby World Cup, then rugby club with Edinburgh and Newcastle Falcons. ”
“The plan is to stay with my partner in Edinburgh because she is from the UK and I loved my stay here… I just finished my strength and conditioning studies, which is the kind of line I am looking for to go down in terms of my future career. Hopefully it can be in a sports or high performance setting, but as always, I’m just going to work hard and keep an open mind. “