Newcastle Falcons fly-half Toby Flood has announced his retirement from playing career with immediate effect.
A product of Falcons Academy, Flood made his senior debut with the club in 2004 before switching to Leicester Tigers in 2008. The 36-year-old also had a stint with Toulouse before returning back to the Falcons in 2017.
Combined across the two spells, Flood went on to make 141 appearances for the Falcons apart from another 119 games for Leicester Tigers during which he went on to win Premiership titles three times.
“Dean Richards and I discussed the idea a little bit towards the end of last season, and as time went on, the way my body was and the fact I was going away to university for parts of the year – it just seemed to make sense,” said Flood.
“I made my first-team debut against Wasps in 2004 and we got pumped 83-10 away to Leicester live on TV in my second game – and then my last professional appearance was a big defeat away to Exeter live on TV just to book-end it nicely!
“It’s obviously not the way you would want it to finish, but there were a lot of good times in between.
“A professional rugby career just flies by, and it’s mad to think this was going to be my 18th pre-season. I know a lot of people who haven’t been anywhere near that lucky, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had such a long stint.
“There’s a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from every stop on that journey, and too many people to thank. The good wins are the ones that create the best memories and the bad losses are the ones that tend to stick in your mind more - but it was fun while it lasted.”
Flood also played for England 60 times between 2006 and 2013 including seven World Cup games that came during the 2007 and 2011 editions. He will now remain at the Falcons as kicking and skills coach.
“I’m enjoying getting into the coaching side of things.
“You come into it with lots of ideas, and I’m lucky enough to be working with some really experienced coaches who know what they’re doing. Dave Walder as head coach and Mark Laycock on the skills side are both guys who are doing a really fantastic job, and to be able to work with people of that ability is great for me.
“I’m hoping to add value for the players by working them pretty hard on their kicking technique, and with what I’ve experienced during my career I believe I can do that.”