Edinburgh Rugby record appearance holder Allan Jacobsen will retire from a 16-year professional playing career after the club’s final match of the season against Dragons a week on Friday (3 May, kick-off 7.45pm).
Scotland’s most capped prop, known throughout the game as ‘Chunk’, called time on a 65-cap international career in November and will hang up his boots for the last time after 285 club appearances, versus the team whom he marked his double century against in 2008.
Jacobsen said: “It’s sad when you think about it, but I’ve got so many great memories from playing for Edinburgh and Scotland. I’ve done most of the things I wanted to do on the rugby field and I feel very lucky.
“I don’t feel like I have to chase anything anymore, or prove anything. It’s been a massive part of my life since I played for Edinburgh under-16s, and that was 20 years ago.
“You have to stop playing sometime and, for me, that time is now.
It’s time for me to move on with the rest of my life, return to my trade and probably start my own business."
-- Allan Jacobsen
With so much rugby under his belt, it’s understandable that Jacobsen would have many people to thank, with his parents, wife Gayle and daughter Maisie, followed by local councillor Willie Innes and former Boroughmuir and Scotland under-20 head coach, Eamon John – an influential development officer at Preston Lodge (PL) when Jacobsen was growing up.
As a fresh-faced PL player, Jacobsen made his Edinburgh Rugby debut as a replacement for interim head coach, Stevie Scott, in the 1997 match against touring Australian outfit ACT Brumbies at Meggetland.
Two years later the 19-year-old, time-served plumbing apprentice signed his first professional contract under then head coach, Ian Rankin, paving the way for one of the nations’ most colorful and loved rugby characters.
Jacobsen added: “I played at Preston Lodge from when I was six and as a I grew up people were telling me I should move to another club to progress to the professional ranks, but I wanted to stay, and I think I showed you can make the step up from your own club.
“I always thought the same of Edinburgh. If they hadn’t signed me and given me that chance, then I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I’ve always been looked after, and I got to where I wanted to be because of Edinburgh, so I never felt that I needed to go anywhere else. I always wanted to do my best for Edinburgh and the fans who’ve supported me for so long.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling you get from fans. They come and watch no matter what and, when things aren’t going well, they’re still out there paying their money to support you.
“I’ve always got a buzz out of the songs they’ve sang over the years. Their support has meant so much to me and I’d just like to say thanks.”
-- Allan Jacobsen
Jacobsen was joined at today’s announcement by interim head coach, Stevie Scott, who led the tributes.
He said: “To stay at the top of the game for sixteen years is an incredible achievement.
“He’s had a remarkable career; taking over from someone like Tom Smith as the most capped Scotland prop, and signing off as by far and away the longest-serving Edinburgh Rugby player – a record I think he’ll hold on to for quite some time.
“He’s been a tremendous servant to the club, to Scotland, and to Scottish Rugby as whole, and on behalf of Edinburgh Rugby I’d like to wish him every success in the future.”
After the Dragons game, the baton of record appearance holder in the playing roster will pass to captain Greig Laidlaw, who played his 125th game against Treviso last weekend.
There’s no one quite like Chunk. He’s one in a million.
-- Edinburgh Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw
“His nickname is known far and wide and obviously points to certain aspects of his physique, but you don’t achieve what he has in this game without being an exceptional rugby player.
“One thing you’ll never be able to take away from Chunk is his commitment to the jersey and his work rate on the field.
“You have to see to believe some of the things he does on the rugby pitch, and it’s been an honour to play alongside such a great player and character.”
Scottish Rugby chief executive, Mark Dodson, agreed: “On behalf of Scottish Rugby I’d like to thank Allan Jacobsen for his service to the Scottish game.
“This time last season another Edinburgh Rugby and Scotland stalwart, Chris Paterson, called time on his career and I think Chunk is every bit the role model for the budding young rugby players out there.
“Rugby is a game for all shapes, all sizes, and all backgrounds, and I think these two greats of the game exemplify the different routes you can take to reach the pinnacle of the playing profession.
“He’s a fantastic character and we wish him every success in the next chapter of his life.”