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Andy Hazell – Seven years since the formidable flanker retired

Andy Hazell is a Cherry and White legend. Gloucester through and through, Hazell played 268 1st XV games in a career spanning across 17 seasons. It is now seven years to the day since the formidable flanker retired from the sport, providing the perfect opportunity to look back on the incredible career from the one club man.

Earning seven full international caps for England, Hazell was a standout performer for Gloucester Rugby and is regarded as one of the best openside flankers to have run out at Kingsholm.

Weighing only fourteen and a half stone (92kg) in his prime and being just shy of six foot tall, he offered something more of a traditional flanker at a time when the game was becoming more about size and strength. His pace, physicality in the tackle and ability over the ball made him a fan favourite and a key part of the Gloucester Rugby squad.

Making his debut for the club in 1997, Hazell retired in 2014 and can look back on his career with pride. Playing in Gloucester Rugby’s most successful period, he helped the club lift the Powergen Cup in 2003, the European Challenge Cup in 2006 and the LV Cup in 2011.

Throughout his career Gloucester Rugby topped the Premiership table three times but the club was pipped on each occasion in the playoffs. The former Severn Vale School pupil said when he retired, “I would swap all my England caps for a Premiership win with Gloucester,” showing how much playing for his childhood club meant to him.

Hazell’s Highlights

1978 - Born in Gloucester.

1997 - Joined Gloucester Rugby and made debut for the club.

1999 - Selected for England Under-21, taking part in the SANZAR/UAR World Under 21 tournament in Buenos Aires.

2000-01 - Selected to play for an England XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham at the end of May and played in all eight of Gloucester Rugby’s Heineken Cup games.

2002-03 - Helped Gloucester Rugby top the Premiership table by 15 points and won The Powergen Cup. He played in the Premiership Final defeat to Wasps and in the hard-fought Cup Semi-final victory over English and European Champions Leicester at Kingsholm which led to a magnificent Cup Final victory over Northampton to win the Powergen Cup.

He also played for England A throughout the 2002-03 Six Nations A tournament and then, as a member of the 43-man squad from whom the World Cup party would eventually be chosen, toured Australia and New Zealand with the senior England side.

2003-04 - Hazell played for England A in the home internationals at the end of the season and played a second time for an England XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

He finally broke through to make his full England debut against Canada at Twickenham in November 2004 and came on as a replacement against South Africa a week later. He went on to play four games in the 2005 Six Nations tournament, starting against Wales and scoring a try as a replacement against Italy.

2005-06 - Hazell scored a try in the memorable extra time European Challenge Cup victory over London Irish at The Stoop.

2006-07 - Was named Gloucester Rugby’s Player of the Season and was outstanding in his club’s 50-9 Premiership Semi-Final victory over Saracens at Kingsholm, scoring a try and providing the scoring pass for Luke Narraway.

He started 17 of his club’s 22 Premiership games which led to selection for the 2007 summer tour of South Africa. He started the first test at Bloemfontein, the last international cap for Hazell.

2008-09 - Hazell was given a testimonial year, becoming only the third player to receive the honour. Hazell's two chosen charities are Winston's Wish and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

2010-11 - He started in 14 Premiership games and played throughout the successful LV Cup run, culminating in the 34-7 victory against Newcastle Falcons in the Final at Franklin’s Gardens.

2012-13 - Injured his thumb and suffered a nasty concussion whilst playing against Newcastle Falcons following a previous head injury.

2014 - In his 17th season with Gloucester Rugby, Andy Hazell announced his retirement from professional rugby and went out as the longest serving one-club player in Premiership history at the time.

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