McGeechan lauds retiring Grewcock
May 5, 2011
Grewcock is set to bring the curtain down on his playing career at the end of the season © Getty Images
Sir Ian McGeechan has heaped praise on Bath veteran Danny Grewcock who is set to retire at the end of the season.
The grizzled 38-year-old Grewcock will make his final appearance at the Recreation Ground for Bath on Saturday when they host Aviva Premiership strugglers Newcastle. And if Bath fail to break into the top four then it will also be the last game of Grewcock's professional career.
The former Saracens lock won 69 England caps, played in five Tests for the British and Irish Lions and has made 217 Premiership appearances. He has also built up a something of a 'bad boy' reputation thanks to a disciplinary record which includes being sent off playing for England against New Zealand in 1998; sent off for punching Lawrence Dallaglio during a showpiece European final; and sent off for use of the boot on his former England team-mate Kyran Bracken, although a subsequent suspension was rescinded on appeal.
But his commitment, dedication and efficiency has not waned over the years according to McGeechan - the club's director of rugby. "I got to know him well on the 2005 Lions tour," commented McGeechan. "He has been such an important team man. He leads physically from the front and he's got a great attitude. When you think what he's done, what he's achieved, it is fantastic.
"You would not meet a nicer bloke off the field, and he's not the sort of bloke you would want to meet on the field. The perfect rugby player, really! These players I think are always a bit different, a bit special.
"They have a bit of humility as well, which Danny has. For what he has achieved, the way he works with some of the younger players, you couldn't have a better role model. He has tried to get the best out of himself in every game, and that is where you have got the real role model.
"Danny has never said that he cannot get better. All the top players never assume anything, they never accept that they know it all or that they've got it done. They are always looking for that bit of improvement. 'Grewy' has done that this season. Martin Johnson was the same, Simon Shaw is another that I rate. As a group, they are pretty special English forwards.
"Without fail, if you look at all these fellas who have been very important to English rugby over the last decade and a half, they are almost the ultimate team men. Danny is the ultimate competitor as well a being the ultimate professional. As a coach, that's what you want, somebody who does not want to lose and wants to win every game."
Bath had long identified Grewcock as being too valuable to be lost to them after retirement, and a key academy role now beckons for him. "It's gold dust, really, what he is going to," added McGeechan. "You cannot buy the sort of thing he is going to give to the club now in the academy with the young players. I couldn't think of being able to put another player into that position.
"So the club is going to benefit hugely from where he is going next, and how we work. We are in a huge win-win situation with him. He is going to be very active and key to the way the whole academy set-up runs, its vision and its direction."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action
The latest Week in Pictures takes in some original ways of welcoming teams to the field and plenty of tries from the European Champions Cup