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Keys talisman Nash set to hang-up boots

Keys talisman Nash set to hang-up boots

Rob Nash with his victorious Cross Keys team

Rob Nash, who led Cross Keys to WRU National Cup glory at Principality Stadium, has decided to hang up his boots.

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The 33-year-old back row man, who was captain at unbeaten National Championship leaders Pontypool last season, was restricted to a mere three appearances in the truncated 2019/20 campaign and has decided to quit rather than carry on.

“I’m still fit so, physically, I could still play, but mentally it’s not quite there. It’s been a good few years, I always wanted to finish off at Pontypool and I’m glad I got that chance,” Nash told the South Wales Argus.

From Cross Keys he moved to Coventry and then returned for a second spell at his hometown club, Pontypool. Promotion back to the Indigo Group Premiership was the goal this year to allow him to end on a high.

“I hadn’t been enjoying it quite as much for a couple of years but was hoping that we would go up and that would be it,” he added.

“It didn’t end that way, but this was always going to be my last year. I’ve had a couple of good seasons and worked my guts out as best as I could, but I’m nowhere near the player that I was.”

After making 45 appearances for Pooler between 2005-08, Nash moved to Pandy Park. He quickly became a key figure in their side and helped them move up the table and into two major finals in the 2011-12 season.

They reached the final of the British & Irish Cup, where they were beaten by Munster A in Cork, and then marched on the Welsh capital to take on Pontypridd in the Welsh Cup final. They won that game 32-19, with Nash picking up the man of the match award.

“That was a great team and that season was awesome. There were a few years of hard work in the build-up and then there were a few years of getting close to the title without quite making it,” said Nash.

“The coaches did a great job of getting a bunch of misfits together, people who were pretty good players on the edge of having professional contracts, but didn’t quite make it. They put us all together and we just enjoyed each other’s company, which is a massive part of it.

“They were good times and the best years of my career. It was an environment where we didn’t want to let anybody down.

“I didn’t care how much money I was on, it was just playing for each other. That was one of the main reasons that we were so good.

“There was a raw, rough edge to us, but there were also some players who could play nice stuff. I remember the B&I Cup semi-final against Cornish Pirates – they were huge and we should never have beaten them, but we just got stuck into them.

“That was probably our best performance, better than the final against Ponty. If we hadn’t won that game then that season would have all been for nothing.

“It was a great day and I’m humbled to have helped the club get its first bit of silverware and honoured to be part of that team.”

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