Bradley calls time on rep­re­sen­ta­tive rugby

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

In­spi­ra­tional Mor­rinsville Sports club rugby player and Ran­furly Shield­win­ning Waikato NPC cap­tain Alex Bradley has re­tired from rep­re­sen­ta­tive rugby.

Bradley, who is not play­ing at any level this year but may re­turn to club rugby at some level next sea­son, has cited a num­ber of rea­sons for his de­ci­sion to step away from the game at 31.

Though the big No 8’ s fam­ily and his Mata­mata plumb­ing busi­ness were key rea­sons, with his wife and fam­ily as well as his busi­ness part­ner hav­ing made a lot of sac­ri­fices in re­cent years, he said he had also lost some of the hunger to make the com­mit­ment to an­other year of train­ing and the travel re­quired to do it.

‘‘The boys are into train­ing now be­fore and af­ter work. I’ve done that for a long time now and trav­el­ling from Mata­mata means get­ting up early, not see­ing the fam­ily, get­ting over there in the morn­ings and hav­ing to get back for work and then get­ting back over there in the af­ter­noons for train­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I was doubt­ing whether I was up to it and I could sort of sense if I was do­ing it I wouldn’t be putting 100 per cent into it.’’

His body was also telling him it needed a break with ‘‘a cou­ple of crook knees and a hip that’s giv­ing me a bit of grief’’ so he felt a year off from all rugby would do him some good.

‘‘ I’m at the top of my game and I’m not go­ing to go any fur­ther.

‘‘The Chiefs didn’t want me for an­other sea­son so that sort of helped the de­ci­sion as well.’’

Bradley also feels he is go­ing out on a high note af­ter a sea­son most play­ers would dream of – a mem­ber of the Chiefs who won the Su­per Rugby ti­tle for the first time, then cap­tain­ing Waikato to wrest the Ran­furly Shield off Taranaki and suc­cess­fully de­fend it.

‘‘My wife wanted me to keep play­ing and I’ve still got rugby left in me but I just felt I was ready for a change and needed to put time into my busi­ness and my fam­ily.’’

The 1.89m 117kg Bradley was born and ed­u­cated in Mor­rinsville and has played most of his club foot­ball for the Mor­rinsville Sports Club.

Th­ese days he lives in Mata­mata and he would be likely to join a Mata­mata club if he re­turns to club rugby next year.

‘‘I think I’ll just get away from trav­el­ling al­to­gether but I guess ... if I felt like I was still up to it and got back into it next sea­son and got fit enough, per­haps I could say to [Waikato coach Chris Gibbes] I’m avail­able.

‘‘But at this stage I just want to have a year off and spend time with the kids, fol­low their sport and maybe get into a bit of coach­ing with them.’’

Bradley said he was al­ready rev­el­ling in hav­ing the time to spend week­ends with his fam­ily, and more time dur­ing the week at work, and shar­ing the load with his wife in terms of pick­ing up chil­dren from school and cook­ing meals.

Fairfax NZ

Re­tired: Alex Bradley with the Ran­furly Shield in 2012.

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