George Gregan to finally hang up his boots

Former Wallaby captain George Gregan will hang up his rugby boots at the end of the current season ending a career which has seen him win a world cup and two Super Rugby campaigns.


Gregan won a world record 139 caps with the Wallabies and whilst he stopped playing in Australia he has spent his last few years playing in Japan for Suntory Sungoliath.


“That’ll be me finished, though hopefully it will culminate with two championships,” the 37-year-old told The Daily Yomiuri what his plans were come the end of the Japanese season.


“I am going to get into things outside rugby that I have been working on for the last few years,” he said.


“I am not going to do any coaching in any formal way, but the things I will be doing will be based on sport.”


Gregan moved to Japan in 2008 from Toulon and has been playing under his Brumbies and Wallabies coach, Eddie Jones.


“Eddie called me in Toulon where I spent a year after the World Cup and asked if it was possible,” he said.


“My initial reaction was that I had no games left in me, but he told me they were looking at a time frame of three years.”


“I had been here a few times before and have always enjoyed coming here.”


Having tasted success at the highest level, Gregan believes Japan is starting to head in the right direction.


“The physical shape and athleticism of the players has improved considerably across the board,” he said.


“There are some big boys here. What they lack is exposure to the training techniques that exist in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But that’s coming through. The players want to improve and I am sure they will.”


The Zambian-born scrumhalf, though, still has doubts about the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.


“That’s a hard one,” he said. “It has the potential to raise the profile of the sport. I was talking to (teammate) Takamichi (Sasaki) this morning and he was telling me they expect 50 to 60,000 at the national stadium this weekend for the Waseda-Meiji game.


“They need to tap that support into the international game.


“There will be a lot of travelers at the World Cup and Japan is well set up for that, but whether the locals will be as passionate as France is always debatable. The south of France for example had a strong rugby culture.


“But if you combine the passion of the travelers with the locals it could be a really good event.”

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