Saints lock Craig to call time on his playing career

James Craig wants to go into coaching
James Craig wants to go into coaching

James Craig has confirmed he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current season to pursue a career in coaching.

The towering lock has made 73 appearances for Saints since arriving from Leeds Carnegie in 2011.

After an impressive first season in the east midlands saw him reach the 2012 Anglo-Welsh Cup final with Saints, injuries curtailed his progress over the next two campaigns.

But he did collect two winners’ medals in 2014 for playing a role in the European Challenge Cup and Premiership successes.

Playing regular rugby over the next two seasons, Craig helped Saints top the Premiership table at the end of the regular season in 2015.

And he even earned an international call-up for England Saxons’ 2016 tour of South Africa.

Craig has been assisting with the training of the Saints Academy sides over the past four seasons, and will now look to move into coaching on a full-time basis.

“After eight years of professional rugby I have made the decision to call time on my career, but I am extremely proud to have contributed so much at Franklin’s Gardens,” the 30-year-old said.

“I have been battling injuries for some time now, but I am so grateful to my team-mates and all the medical and backroom staff at the club for everything they have done for me during my time here.

“Thanks also must go to my friends and family, as well as Northampton’s loyal supporters, for all their encouragement during my career.

“I am continuing to try to help the squad as much as possible until my contract is complete, but I am excited to see what the future holds.

“The opportunity to coach the club’s Academy over the last couple of seasons has been invaluable experience for me, so my thanks must go to Simon Sinclair and Mark Hopley for their support with that.

"I hope to take my next steps into a full-time coaching career in the coming months.”