Ean Griffiths expecting good times ahead for Cambridge Rugby Club in National League One
Ean Griffiths is predicting exciting times at Cambridge Rugby Club but will be watching from the sidelines having been forced to hang up his boots.
The 30-year-old co-captain retired from the game at the end of last season on medical advice after a series of concussions.
Griffiths, who joined Cambridge in the summer of 2012 and went on to make 137 appearances for the first team, made the decision after a head knock in the away game at Caldy but the decision was not announced to avoid distracting from the efforts to avoid relegation from National League One, which was successfully achieved.
“Unofficially, I said to Richie (Williams, the head coach) at the start of the year – as I got a head knock early on in the year – that it was at the point it was getting a bit ridiculous,” said New Zealander Griffiths.
“I said if I get one more then I would have to seriously consider hanging up the boots because, with the more information we have now, it’s scary seeing people get these head knocks and not quite carrying on with life as well as they’d like to.
“It was the away game up at Caldy where I got a bit of a knock. It wasn’t a bone rattler but it was still enough for me to lose my memory during the game – so that was it.
“Once I had that third one, I went and spoke to the doctor, his recommendation was to stop as well. I really needed that because we can all play guessing games.
“I didn’t want it to be a big thing because I wanted the guys to focus on the job in hand. Those who needed to know, knew they probably wouldn’t see me on the pitch again.”
Griffiths will be staying on at Cambridge in some capacity, possibly as a link between the different sections of the club from the committee to coaching and playing staff, and perhaps doing some coaching, but the details of his role are to be iron out.
He has had full support since announcing his retirement, a thread that has continued since he first arrived at Volac Park - when recovery from a broken leg took longer than expected.
“I’ve been lucky that the club have always wanted me around, as long as you’re performing on the pitch then you will get looked after,” he said.
“I try to say that to a lot of the young guys coming through ‘if you deliver on your promise to the club, then the club will deliver on theirs’.
“I’ve met some great people within the club and they’ve always been really good to me - people like Steve Bowller, Rob Dean and Tracey Baxter.
“They have always gone out of their way to help me, especially with the start I had.”
There have been seven new signings this closed season for Cambridge, and a new-look coaching team is in place.
And Griffiths believes things are looking rosy for the forthcoming season, with a fresh start needed.
“Although we’ve lost some great players, it’s a chance for us to start something new with a new squad,” he said.
“I was part of the old guard and I don’t see me leaving as a negative, maybe a bit of a loss of experience, but I think with the players they’ve brought in they’ve recruited well in key positions.
“I firmly believe that it’s completely a positive thing that there’s been a big switchover, not just with players but coaching staff as well.
“If I was a supporter or part of the team I would be really excited because the guys they’ve brought in are exciting prospects.”