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Premiership Rugby

Matt Smith calls time on playing career at Leicester Tigers

Matt Smith

Matt Smith has announced that he will retire from the game at the conclusion of the 2018/19 season after 14 years of professional rugby with Leicester Tigers.

The Tigers Academy graduate made his senior debut for Leicester in March 2006 against the Barbarians at Welford Road and has since gone on to make 227 appearances and score 30 tries for his hometown club.

Smith followed in the footsteps of his father, Ian ‘Dosser’ Smith, in playing for Leicester and the pair achieved the milestones of becoming the first father-and-son combination to both make 100 and 200 appearances for the club.

Smith, 33, said: “I have thought about it throughout this season and now feels like the right time for me to farewell the game as a player.

“I still love playing the game, but now I don’t feel like I’m at the level I used to be and it’s the time for someone else and someone younger to come in and do the job this club needs of them.

“I feel very lucky to be able to finish on my own terms, having watched good friends finish without that chance, so the thought of being able to walk off Welford Road after my last game is something I feel very fortunate to be able to do.”

The centre – who recently made his 150th Premiership appearance in Leicester colours – will now take on a full-time role with the Tigers Academy programme, where he has been appointed to the role of head coach to work alongside academy manager Dave Wilks next season.

Speaking about Smith’s retirement, his former team-mate and captain, now head coach, Geordan Murphy said: “Matt has been a fantastic servant of this club and represents everything we want a Tigers player to be.

“His commitment to his team-mates and the badge has been second to none from when he first arrived as a skinny teenager to now, as a senior player in the squad.

“It was a pleasure to play alongside Smithy and it has been just as much a pleasure to coach him, which I believe will be the case working together as he helps develop the next generation of talent in the Tigers Academy.”

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