Weeks calls time, reflects on a decade in rugby

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

After almost a decade spent packing down in the front row of both the Reds and Rebels, Laurie Weeks has called time on his career.

Weeks, who amassed 107 Super Rugby caps and two Tests, told his teammates of the decision on Wednesday.

A beloved foundation Rebel, Weeks told RUGBY.com.au he knew his time had come when he drove past the club's base at Gosch's Paddock on Monday.

"The first day of preseason I was driving past Gosch's and I saw the boys doing their fitness tests," Weeks said.

"I looked at it and immediately thought... "I don't want to be doing that".

"Coming into preseason part of me knew that it would be better to go down now than to hold onto the dear end.

"I thought about it long and hard and just in the recent weeks I was pretty clear that it is the right thing to do."

Weeks has long been a loved figure in Melbourne. Photo: Getty ImagesThe 32-year-old holds no regrets when he reflects on his career, which started at the Reds in 2009.

If anything, leaving Queensland at the end of 2010 before the club went on to win the Super Rugby title 12 months later, is perhaps the only sore point.

"We got the wooden spoon that year (laughs) - there were moments there for sure where I was wondering if I made the right decision but I was living vicariously through all of them," he said.

"I loved it there - it was such a great bunch of guys - and it's funny that a few of them have now followed me down to Melbourne in one way or another.

"I just watched them and was very happy for them because I knew how hard they all worked for it.

"Would I have loved a premiership? Definitely.

"But if I couldn't get it I am glad all my mates there could."

Those comments sum Weeks up best.

Weeks will join the Rebels' commercial department next year. Photo: Getty ImagesHe's never been one for personal milestones or accolades but he will never forget the day he became a Wallaby.

"The Test match against the French in Melbourne (in 2014) was incredible," Weeks said.

"I only played five minutes but all of my friends from school travelled down, my family travelled down and they were all on the sideline to watch me step on the field.

"The moment you step on the field is the moment you know you are a Wallaby and will always be a Wallaby.

"It's a real sort of... numbing experience.

"It's something I will never forget."

While he could only add one more Test cap to his tally Weeks remained an integral part of the Rebels fold until his retirement.

He never featured in finals football while at the club but will forever remember the day a bunch of "rag tag bunch of blokes" beat the Crusaders on their home turf in round one of 2015.

"I think we were the first foreign team in almost 10 years to beat them over there," Weeks said.

"We were absolute underdogs - a real rag tag bunch of blokes - and that 2015 and 2016 season were my highlights of my career down in Melbourne.

"Like the Rebels currently we had a really young roster and everyone was just fighting for positions.

"It was a great time to be down here."

A stint in the Rebels' commercial department awaits the Melbourne stalwart for the remainder of this year while he finishes a teaching degree.

It is perhaps fitting that Weeks is headed down the teaching path as it was proud Sydney rugby nursery St Joseph's College which nurtured his love for the game.

The relationships he built there still stand strong today and will remain the part of rugby he will miss the most.

"I think the one thing you always hear and its the same every time you hear someone moving on... it's all about the relationships that you build," he said.

"They are the things you miss the most and are the things you're most fond of.

"That is what I will treasure the most."