Jim Hamilton says the time is right to call time on his glittering career after helping Saracens lift the Champions Cup.
The former Scotland lock revealed he is to hang up his boots this summer after landing another winners’ medal with Mark McCall’s team.
That he was limited to a mere two-minute run-out when his side were already on the verge of sealing their 28-17 victory over Clermont Auvergne did not sour the occasion for the 34 year old.
Instead he stood back and reflected on a career that has now provided him with three Premiership titles and two European Cups, as well as 63 international caps, with the possibility of another Premiership crown if the Londoners can overcome Exeter in next week’s semifinal.
“There’s a couple of LV= Cups in there too but we’re not counting them,” smiled the former Leicester, Edinburgh, Gloucester and Montpellier forward after bowing out at his old BT Murrayfield stomping ground.
“It feels a little bit surreal to be chatting about it all now but I feel incredibly honoured to have played this game when I’m a guy that isn’t that most overly talented.
“I have worked as hard as I possibly could and made the most of every opportunity that has been presented to me. I’m incredibly proud to have won that European Cup.
“I had the option to go to London Irish next season but I just feel the time is right to finish and go out at the top. It just feels right.
“It’s not a rash decision to bow out after a European Cup win. I know we’ve still got a couple of games left potentially but it feels right now.
“I’ve noticed in the last couple of months that the body is taking its toll. I was itching to get on at the end but I know where my place is in this team. Maro Itoje and George Kruis are both going to be British Lions and the likelihood is they are going to start.
“For me, I’ve played in every game bar one this year. I’ve started over 20 games over the last two seasons for Sarries. I deserve to be on the pitch and I’m good enough to be on the pitch, so it’s only right the coaches put me on.
“Obviously the game was won, which is fine by me, but to be on the pitch and win it was an amazing feeling.
“I could have stayed at Sarries for another year but they are obviously looking to bring younger guys in. I didn’t want to go somewhere else and finish on a lull.
“So what better way to finish than by lifting the Champions Cup and, fingers crossed, another Premiership title. It’s the way I’d want to go out and be remembered.”