Northampton Saints can today announce that veteran lock Christian Day will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The 34-year-old second row has been a part of the furniture at Franklin’s Gardens since 2008, winning a plethora of silverware in his time at the Club – including an Anglo-Welsh Cup, two European Challenge Cups, and the Aviva Premiership title.
Day, an immense set-piece operator, also starred in Saints’ run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011 and was rewarded for his contribution to the 2013/14 double-winning squad with the Players’ Player of the Season accolade.
Away from the pitch Day served as Chairman of the Rugby Players' Association from 2014 to 2017, becoming Vice Chairman for the 2017/18 season, and he will now take on a full-time position as Player Liaison Officer with the organisation from July.
“After 17 years of professional rugby time has caught up with me, but I am extremely proud to have contributed so much at Franklin’s Gardens in ten seasons as a Saint,” said Day.
“I have been battling an injury for some time which will unfortunately prevent me from playing in this season’s remaining fixtures, but I will be continuing to try and help my teammates at Saints as much as I can until my contract is complete."
“Thanks must go to so many people who have helped to make my time in this fantastic game so special. To all of the coaches, medical staff, backroom staff, supporters, friends and family who have supported me throughout my career; I am truly grateful.
“My greatest memories in life have invariably been spent with my closest family, or on the rugby field. I am sad to leave the changing rooms behind, but hugely excited by my new role with the RPA.
“It’s an opportunity to give something back, and to try to make the professional game even better for those who are lucky enough to get to play it.”
Arriving at Saints in 2008 after stints with Sale Sharks and Stade Francais, Day retires with 226 appearances to his name in the Black, Green and Gold jersey – also scoring 16 tries along the way.
The lock also won the Premiership and European Challenge Cup trophies while at Sale, and captained England Under-21s before representing England Saxons.
“Not many rugby players are able to give as much to one club as Christian has done for Northampton Saints,” said Saints chairman John White.
“He was almost ever-present throughout one of the most successful periods of the Club’s history, and he will be missed immensely around Franklin’s Gardens."
“Christian will go down in Saints folklore, but I know he is eagerly anticipating a new challenge, and on behalf of everyone at the Club I wish him all the best for the next stage of his career with the RPA.”
Reporting into the RPA’s Rugby Director Richard Bryan, Christian will be a key contact point for all RPA members – representing their views, promoting their interests, and supporting the RPA’s work by ensuring players’ voices are heard at the highest levels of the game.
RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley added: “This is a significant appointment for both the RPA and the players we represent, and it’s fantastic to welcome Christian to join our team.
“In his eight years as an RPA Player Representative and board member, Christian has proven himself an effective and respected leader both on and off the field. He is a strong advocate of his fellow professionals and has played an integral role in securing many of the rights players now take for granted.
“I have no doubt he’ll be a great success in this new role and further strengthen the vital link between the RPA and our current and former members.”