EDINBURGH centre and former Scotland age-grade international George Taylor has announced his retirement from rugby for health reasons. The 25-year-old has not played this season due to concussion. He plans to launch a new career in his family business of veterinary pharmaceutical supplies.
“My decision to step away from rugby is ultimately down to health reasons and I’ve got to think about my health for the future,” said Taylor, who made 38 appearances for the capital club – scoring six tries – following his debut against Munster in November 2018.
“I’ve had a history of head injuries that have set me back for months, so after a lot of discussion with management and family, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should step away and move on to other opportunities,” the former Melrose midfielder added.
“It’s certainly not been a quick decision. It’s been thought through ever since I got a concussion while in pre-season back in August. It’s been on my mind and I’ve made some sacrifices to try and prepare for life after rugby.
“I had a long conversation with my family prior to Christmas and they shared their opinions, while not trying to make a decision for me. My brother also retired due to head knocks and he gave me some good insight into how he was afterwards.
“You look back at photos of yourself at games with family and you quickly realise how important family is. Obviously, rugby means so much to me. I’ve been playing since I was six and this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, if not the hardest.
“Throughout this all, the support of both the Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby medical teams has been massive and I’ll forever be thankful for their ongoing care and support.”
A product of Earlston High School, Taylor spent his final year of education at Loretto School. He represented Scotland at both U18 and U20 level – winning seven caps and scoring a try for the senior age-grade side – and had a pivotal role in Melrose’s Scottish Cup and Premiership double-winning season in 2017-18.
“One of my proudest moments has got to be making my debut against Munster, playing against some huge names in the game and at one of the most famous stadiums in world rugby,” he continued.
“Then making my first home appearance at BT Murrayfield against Southern Kings with my family supporting was absolutely amazing. Then just playing at grounds such as The Principality Stadium and Racing 92’s La Defense Arena has been absolutely surreal.
“I spoke to the boys and told them my decision earlier this week. Driving into the stadium and walking into BT Murrayfield, I thought ‘this will be fine’, but then I saw all the boys sitting there and it was just a really emotional moment. I thanked them for everything they’ve done in my career; they’ve been a massive part of it.
“I’m out into the real world now and it’s daunting, but as people say, one door closes and several open, and I’ve got to grasp these opportunities.
“Come July, I’ll be moving into work in finance with the family business and it’s something I’m looking forward to getting stuck into massively.
“I just want to thank all those that have supported me throughout my career – fans, players, coaches, family and friends. Despite the injuries, it’s been a privilege to play the sport I love professionally and I can honestly say I step away knowing that I gave everything to the game.
“I’m now looking forward to watching Edinburgh play as a fan and I will hopefully be able to catch-up with supporters at a game very soon.”
Head coach Mike Blair added: “We’re obviously gutted for George and we’ll be sad to see him leave the club because we’re losing a great player and an even better person, that been an integral member of our playing squad for the last four seasons.
“It’s never easy to see any player step away from the game at a young age, however, health and family always comes first and it’s clear that George hasn’t taken this decision lightly in any way – rugby is the sport he loves, so I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him.
“George is a great guy and someone that players and supporters respect massively because of his commitment to the jersey and the way he plays the game. He’ll be sorely missed by everyone connected to Edinburgh Rugby and we wish him the very best moving forward.”
Meanwhile, academy prop Dan Gamble has joined London Scottish on a short-term loan deal. The 20-year-old, who has made three appearances so far for Edinburgh, will still be registered as a member of the Challenge Cup squad.
“This is a great opportunity for Dan to get some game time under his belt,” Blair said. “He is a great prospect and playing against senior Championship players will serve him well in his development. It’s a move that benefits both us and the player.”