Club centurion Fusaro announces retirement
Glasgow Warriors and Scotland flanker Chris Fusaro has announced that he will be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the 2020/21 season, as the openside calls time on a career that saw him take his place amongst the pantheon of club legends.
With 183 outings in a Glasgow jersey to his name, only Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson can lay claim to having made more appearances for the club than Fusaro, the trio having often caused havoc together for opponents from the back-row.
The 31-year-old first turned out for the Warriors in February 2010, starting at openside against Cardiff Blues at Firhill.
A tenacious presence in the number seven shirt, Fusaro quickly gained a reputation as one of Scotland’s premier breakdown specialists, his turn of pace also making him an invaluable presence in open play for the Warriors.
His standout campaign in 2011/12 saw him do the double at the club’s end-of-season Awards Dinner, claiming both the Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season prizes.
Fusaro was at the heart of the club’s ascension to one of Celtic rugby’s powerhouses, culminating in coming off the bench in the 31-13 victory over Munster in May 2015 that secured a first-ever Guinness PRO12 title.
The flanker would join the list of Glasgow Warriors Centurions later that year, making his 100th appearance for the club in a win over Benetton in November 2015.
His professionalism and dedication to his own standards have routinely been praised by team-mates and coaches alike, with Fusaro receiving the Glasgow Warriors Coaches’ Award at the 2018 Awards Dinner in recognition of his efforts on and off the field.
The former Howe of Fife man also represented his country with distinction, making his Scotland debut against England in February 2014 and going on to win four caps in the famous dark blue jersey.
In addition, his turn of pace and game intelligence saw him included in the Scotland 7s setup for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, joining friend and team-mate Pete Horne in the travelling squad.
Fusaro made four appearances this season, starting the opening match of the 2020/21 campaign away to Connacht.
Announcing his retirement on Instagram, Fusaro thanked those on and off the pitch that have made his time at the Warriors memorable.
"The years are full of nothing but the best of memories, and it is hard to put into words my gratitude to everyone who has helped me make them," he said.
"To all my coaches at Glasgow who gave me the opportunities to play for a team who take immense pride in what it means to represent the Warriors, thank you.
"To the fans at Firhill and then Scotstoun who have given us incredible support over the years, without you our team wouldn’t be where it is today.
"To all my brothers, past and present, the memories I’ve made with you, on and off the pitch, will last a lifetime. I’ll miss the feeling after a game when you look around and know that everyone has given everything, although the not being sore part might be quite nice…
"Last of all, my long-suffering wife, Katie. Thank you for being there for the whole journey, for the many ups and down, for keeping me smiling and grounded along the way and for singlehandedly bringing up our kids whilst I was away doing what I loved."
Defence Coach Kenny Murray, the club's longest-serving coach, highlighted the flanker's professionalism following the announcement.
“Chris has been a player who not only gives everything on the pith but is an example to others on how he prepares off it," he said.
“The fact he has been a one-club player and sits third on the club’s all time appearance list is a testament to his team first attitude and commitment to Glasgow throughout his 11 seasons.
“He exhibits the traits of a Warrior more than most – hard work, effort and selflessness and has been a part of the leadership group of the club for a number of years now which is a testament to his ability to lead others and drive standards
“He has been a fantastic servant to the club and is someone who will be missed in the environment.”
Head Coach Danny Wilson added: “Chris is a player who has shown excellent commitment to the club both on and off the field.
“He’s a well respected leader here at Glasgow and has done a lot for the club this season.
“He is a true Warrior, and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Glasgow Warriors Managing Director Al Kellock paid his own personal tribute, saying: “I’d like to congratulate Chris on all that he has achieved in an outstanding rugby career.
"He has set standards at Glasgow Warriors for over a decade and had an enormous impact on the club and all those who have been connected to it.
"On a personal level he has been a great support to me over many years in various guises and for that I can’t thank him enough.
"I wish Chris, Katie and the kids all the very best in the next chapter and look forward to having them back at Scotstoun to allow the supporters to show how much he has meant to them."