Matt Smith decides to retire at the age of 23

Flanker says that he no longer finds the game enjoyable and increasingly felt like getting up for training was a 'chore'

Matt Smith has announced his retirement from rugby. Image: Craig Watson
Matt Smith has announced his retirement from rugby. Image: Craig Watson

MATT SMITH has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 23. The flanker, who has been involved at Glasgow Warriors as either an academy player or full-time squad member for the last six years, and who has made 20 appearances for the club since his debut during the 2016-17 season, says that he no longer finds the game enjoyable and that ‘it has become a chore to get up for training’.

The news comes just 17 months after Smith was called into Gregor Townsend’s Scotland training squad for the 2019 Six Nations. However, he struggled thereafter to command regular game-time at the Warriors and ended up being sent out on loan to Edinburgh in February. He did not pick-up any game-time there either, and it was announced last month that he would become a free agent after his Warriors contact had run its course this summer.

“This is one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life,” explained Smith, in a message posted on his Twitter account. “Today I announced that I have decided to walk away from that I truly love and which has given me so much joy.

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“However, given the current pandemic, I have had time to really reflect and come to realise that rugby is no longer enjoyable for me and that it has become a chore to get up for training.

“I have met some of the most amazing people on my journey and come out of it with wonderful, life long friends. I thank all of the people who have supported me throughout my career, I would never have been able to do it without them.”

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. I was very disappointed to learn Matt Smith was to leave Glasgow and reading this article saddens me. I rated him as a great prospect and, as stated, looked good to fill Gibbons boots. My son and I went to Glasgow’s away tie in the beautiful city of Montpellier a couple of years ago . . . I’ll always remember Matt Smith for buffeting the great Picamoles (when he didn’t really need to) and getting it back with interest for his cheek (- almost as entertaining as Ruaraidh Jackson squaring up to Bismark du Plessis). I hope some time away might help him to rediscover his mojo but he will know his own mind. Best wishes to him

  2. Devastating news. Good enough to have been a Scotland international st some point though unlucky with injuries.

    Mind boggling that there was no place in Glasgow’s squad for him for the coming season given his undoubted quality and their paucity of options currently. Ideal replacement for Gibbins.

  3. Total respect to Matt for his decision. I’d be interested to know what has made rugby so unenjoyable for him… too much training without enough actual game time, the attritional nature of modern rugby, being subject to constant dodgy clear-outs (as a 7)? Or maybe none of these things. Either way, he’s a bright young player and still 5 years away from the point that many back rows really mature, so I think the SRU and rugby generally need to ask questions about why a player like this is walking away from the game.

  4. Mature decision. Best wishes to the lad.

    Hopefully as he develops an alternative career he will benefit from a less intensive future involvement in the grassroots game, in some capacity.

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