Saracens star Charlie Hodgson will move into the club’s backroom staff at the end of the 2015/16 season after the Aviva Premiership legend confirmed he will retire from playing at the end of the season.
The 35-year old outside half who has won 38 England caps and represented the British and Irish Lions in a distinguished career, will head up the club’s recruitment drive throughout all age groups as Head of Recruitment and Talent Identification at the end of this season.
Hodgson lifted the Premiership title in 2014/15, and has continued to shine as one of Europe’s most talented fly-halves. An incredibly gifted playmaker, he has been plying his trade at the coalface of European rugby for his whole career and is hoping to make the most of his final season before moving into his ‘exciting’ new role at the Premiership Champions.
“I’m extremely excited to be taking up the new role at the end of the season,” said Hodgson.
“It was very tough call to make, as being a rugby player is the only thing I’ve ever known in my working life. In one sense my career seems to have lasted a lifetime and in another sense it’s just flown by.
"It was a difficult decision to make, but my body is now telling me that it’s probably the right thing to do. I’ve been presented with an amazing opportunity to be here at Saracens in a different capacity, and it’s an opportunity I felt that I just couldn’t turn down.
“I’ve been very lucky in my career to have played for two fantastic clubs in Sale and Saracens. Having the chance to play for my country and tour with the Lions was a real honour, and something that I’ll always cherish.
"I’d like to thank Sale Sharks for giving me my chance in the game. I spent 11 fantastic years there, made some friends for life and played alongside some great players.
“My time at Saracens has exceeded any of my expectations. I never thought I’d stay for as long as I have, but as a family we’ve had a brilliant time here. We’re very excited to be heading into the next chapter at the club."
Hodgson will join the back room staff and work closely alongside the Saracens coaching staff helping the club identify talent throughout all age groups.
On his new role, Hodgson explained: “The job is ultimately helping Mark McCall (Director of Rugby) and Don Barrell (Academy Manager) and the rest of the team recruit the most talented players available for the club.
"Hopefully we can unearth the next Owen Farrell, the next George Kruis and the next Will Fraser, and get those guys coming through the academy system and fill any potential areas in the current squad where we could improve. It’s very exciting role and to be able to stay here in this incredible environment is great.
“It’s a weight of my shoulders to have sorted my future after rugby,” he added, “I’m really looking forward to focussing purely on the rugby. I hope that the season goes from strength to strength and that we can end it on a high similar to last year.”
Speaking on Hodgson’s move into the Saracens backroom team, Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: “We’re delighted that Charlie will be staying on at Saracens in such an important capacity.
“It’s great for the club to provide our players with a pathway into a different career. As a guy with such rugby knowledge and intelligence as Charlie is tailor made for the role and he will prove to be a huge asset for the club going forward.
“In the past we have seen the likes of Paul Gustard, Alex Sanderson, Kevin Sorrell, Kevin Barrett, Andy Edwards and Don Barrell transfer from the playing staff into backroom team with great success. We think that such continuity in personnel is key for us.”
As one of the game’s most prolific point’s scorers, Hodgson is now playing in his 16th Premiership season after coming through the ranks at Sale Sharks. He moved to Saracens in 2011, where he has made 111 appearances for the Men in Black.