Sale Sharks and former British and Irish Lions and Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter has announced his retirement from professional rugby.
Cusiter joined Sale last season from Glasgow Warriors and reflected back on his career in the game that saw him star for club and country.
“As far as my rugby career goes I considered myself privileged to receive a Scotland ‘A’ cap in 2002. If it had ended there at that point then I would have been happy,” he said.
“I could never have imagined all the experiences I would be able to have over the next 14 years through rugby – the places I visited, the stadiums I played in, the people I met and the great friends I made. Playing for Scotland 70 times was more than I could have dreamed of growing up learning how to play rugby at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen.
“The memories of playing for Scotland and touring NZ with the British and Irish Lions will be with me forever and I am grateful for all the incredible experiences I have been afforded through rugby. Highlights have included Winning the BT Premiership with Boroughmuir in 2003, winning the Top 14 title with Perpignan in 2009 and reaching the final of the Pro12 with Glasgow Warriors in 2014.”
He added: “Some of the greatest times of my life have been spent with team mates in the changing rooms after great victories and I know that it will be difficult to replace those kinds of feelings. I’m looking forward to the challenge however.
“I have always been aware of the finite nature of a career in professional rugby, particularly given some of the injuries I picked up, and this is the right time to hang up my boots and move onto the next challenge. Now is the time for me to move forward, to something I have been working on alongside my rugby career.”
Cusiter’s future plans are far from dull too as he sets off on an exciting business adventure.
“I’ve been fascinated by the Scotch whisky industry for the past few years and firmly believe that it is Scotland’s finest and greatest export and something to be very proud of. I am excited to be involved with a product that I am so passionate about. We will be building an alcohol retail business based in Los Angeles – specialising in craft beer, fine wine and craft spirits with a big focus on Scotch whisky,” he said.
“I will forever be indebted to Red Sky Management for their guidance throughout my career but particularly over this latter stage as I have started looking towards this career transition. I will try to thank everyone who has played a part in my rugby years personally over the next few weeks but you know who you are. Thank you.
“I cannot wait for the next chapter for me and my family as we embark upon this new adventure in California.”