Jackson Wray to retire from rugby
Saracens can today confirm that Jackson Wray will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
The club legend, who has been at the heartbeat of Saracens for well over a decade will hang up his boots following the climax of the 2022/23 campaign after an illustrious career at StoneX Stadium.
Wray recently became just the fifth man to make over 300 appearances for the club and his incredible trophy cabinet includes five Premiership titles and three European trophies, making him one of the most decorated players in Saracens’ history.
The 32-year-old came through the Academy with ‘The Class of 2008’ alongside the likes of Owen Farrell, Jamie George, George Kruis and Will Fraser and has been at the club since the age of 15.
After a spell at Bedford Blues on loan he became a regular in the back-row at StoneX from 2011 onwards, and his importance to the team is shown by the fact that he has been in the matchday squad for all seven of the successful finals when available for selection.
Fast forward 12 years from his debut and he led the team out with daughters Harper and Blake and sons Colby and Hudson as he joined a very exclusive club. Alex Goode, Kris Chesney, Kevin Sorrell and John Buckton were the only men to make a triple-century of appearances, but Wray joined them in the win over Bristol.
He was named in the Premiership Rugby Team of the Year in the season he helped the Men in Black retain the European Cup and the following year he won the club’s Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Season awards.
Wray, who has cemented his place alongside the best Saracens of all-time, had these words after an incredible journey in North London which he hopes will end in more success before the end of the season.
“After 15 years at this fantastic club, it is the right time for me to retire from rugby and pursue interests that I have been building towards during my career.
There are of course far too many people to thank, so to everyone at the club over my time here, players, coaches, supporters, and in particular Nigel Wray who laid the foundations for what has been the best time of my life, thank you.
To my family, my wife Leanne, my parents and my amazing children, I couldn’t have done this without you and I will be forever grateful for your support.
The memories I have made, whether it be on or off the pitch will live with me forever. It would be difficult to single out any particular moments but of course the trophies that we won and the off-field times with all the players over the years will always be near the top of the list.
To run out at StoneX Stadium so many times has been a true honour and I would like to say to the supporters, you truly are the best and the commitment you have shown is absolutely incredible.
I’ll still be a familiar face on match days cheering on the boys so I look forward to seeing you all for many more years to come.”
Director of Rugby Mark McCall says Wray’s influence at the club is like no other.
“Jackson embodies everything that is good about Saracens - hard working, tough, resilient, consistent and team first always. He has had an extraordinary impact and influence on our club and is hugely respected and admired by all players and staff, past and present.
Jacko has not only been at the heart of the club’s biggest moments but has also led the way in many international windows and our younger players have benefitted hugely from his experience and his example in these periods.
We want to thank him for all he has done for our club and wish him, Leanne, Harper, Colby, Blake and Hudson all the very best for what comes next.”
Nigel Wray also paid tribute to Jackson’s impact in North London.
“I first met Jackson some 15 years ago when he and Will Fraser were at the South African Institute of Sport just outside Cape Town. He was then an impressive young man and it's been a real privilege to see him grow over the years not just as a hugely impressive rugby player but also as a quality human being.
Some years ago I was driving away from the Leicester Tigers ground, after we had won there, and I noticed that Jackson was in the adjacent car, driving, and he had obviously left the ground quite early after the game having showered etc.
I mentioned to him that he'd obviously left early and asked why. His reply was that he wanted to be back home for bath time! That must give you a pretty good idea of what a quality family man he is.”