Otago skipper Anderson-Heather retires

Sam Anderson-Heather
Sam Anderson-Heather
Otago skipper Sam Anderson-Heather has hung up his boots and retired from all rugby.

Anderson-Heather has started a new job and has a growing family, meaning his priorities have changed and he has decided to stop playing.

He had offers to play for other provinces but they did not interest him and he was happy during his time with Otago.

The hooker played 62 games for the union but has been bothered by injury over the past couple of years.

He was forced to have a knee operation after the 2017 season and had a slow start last year, playing limited minutes for his Dunedin club. He went and played for the Cook Islands in World Cup qualifiers in the middle of last year.

He was named Otago captain by Otago coach Ben Herring at the start of the Otago season last year.

But a neck injury scuttled his chances of playing in the back half of the 2018 Otago season and he was replaced by Sekonaia Pole and Liam Coltman.

Anderson-Heather made his debut for Otago in the final game of the 2010 season. He was a mobile and tough hooker, and an accurate lineout thrower, and ran the ball up with some power.

He played one game for the Highlanders in 2014, coming on in the dying minutes in a nail-biter against the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The hooker, who turned out for the Dunedin club, played for the New Zealand Barbarians provincial XV against the British and Irish Lions in Whangarei in the first game of the 2017 tour. He scored the only try for his side in that match and was also captain.

Anderson-Heather said he started a new job this week as a regional sales representative for Milwaukee Tools and was entering a new phase in his life.

"I've got a good job now and with other things going on I just could not see me playing rugby anymore," he said.

"Rugby is not just about the sport for me. It is about all the people you meet and deal with. Now with a new job I can still do that. I may go down to Dunedin and help with some coaching but we will see how the new job goes."

He said he might have picked up a few injuries in his career but felt he had still achieved a lot.

"It was a big part of my life but it is good that I can go out on my own terms. That is a good position to be in. You don't want to just keep playing for the sake of playing or a cheque, which is not what a lot of people realise as you don't make any money out of playing Mitre 10 Cup."

A neck injury picked up last year also made him think about his future and with young son James (17 months) growing up there were other things going on in his life.

Also slipping from the Otago picture this season is winger Gavin Stark. Stark, who played for the NZ schools team in 2013, has been hampered by injury in recent years and has shifted to Bay of Plenty.

Stark, who played for University, was one of the quickest and strongest wingers in Dunedin club rugby but he had a terrible run with injury.

Add a Comment