Matt Banahan

Matt Banahan posts farewell to rugby after Gloucester’s final game is cancelled

Matt Banahan has thanked Toby Booth, Corin Palmer and Brian Ashton for their roles in his rugby journey, as he heads into retirement after a 15-year career.

The Gloucester wing announced back in November that this season would be his last, and the cancellation of the team’s final Premiership game against Worcester due to a Covid-19 outbreak means Banahan will not be getting quite the farewell he had hoped for.

Banahan arrived at Bath in 2006 from Jersey and went on to make a total of 215 appearances in the Premiership, as well as winning 16 caps for England.

Taking to Instagram and Twitter, the 34-year-old said he will be able to be found on the golf course when he isn’t coaching rugby youngsters.

“Well, that’s it then. All finished in a blur of Covid,” said Banahan.

“I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity of a lifetime over my career, with just being a kid from Jersey who loved sports.

“A few thanks must go to Toby Booth and Corin Palmer for taking a gamble and giving a long-shot a chance, and also Brian Ashton for getting me out the forwards.

“To all supporters of every club I have played against and with, I enjoyed the banter and keep your passion for your clubs going.

“Lastly, my rocks are my family, who have helped me so much it is hard to put into words, but hopefully I have done them all proud as I feel like I play this game to make them proud.

“Hopefully you will all enjoy following the new adventure coaching and seeing what opportunities I can give the next generation. If not, you know where to find me,’ added the golf enthusiast.

Banahan would have been able to have a dream farewell in front of supporters from the two clubs he played for – Gloucester and Bath – last weekend.

But a number of positive Covid-19 tests among the Gloucester squad and staff led to the Kingsholm fixture being cancelled.

An additional case detected this week has also led to their season finale with Worcester being called off.

Having joined Bath in 2006 as a forward, Jersey-born Banahan was moved to the wing by former coach Brian Ashton.

Named in the wider England Sevens squad in 2007, Banahan then represented England Saxons three times in 2008, before making his senior debut in 2009 against Argentina and making his last England appearance in 2011.

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