WILTSHIRE centre Alex Crockett has retired from the professional game to focus on a coaching career.

Former Bath co-captain Crockett, who has most recently been playing for Newcastle Falcons, announced his retirement after playing just a handful of games this season.

The 32 year old, from Yatton Keynell, made his debut for Bath in 2001 and made 125 appearances for the club, scoring 21 tries including one season as co-captain in 2008-09.

His Rec career ended controversially when he received a nine-month RFU ban for missing two drugs tests and was one of three players to resign from the club. Crockett later revealed he had subsequently passed a test, but had concerns over the procedures Bath had followed.

The former England U21 and England Saxons ace went on to play for Bristol and Worcester, whom he helped into the Aviva Premiership, doing likewise after joining Newcastle in the summer of 2012.

“I think in the end it came down to an accumulation of picking up a lot of injuries throughout my career,” Crockett told the Falcons website.

“With my knees not what they used to be, I was starting to struggle to get by week to week. When you feel like you can’t contribute, it’s probably time to call it a day. I think Sam Vesty said it perfectly when he retired, that when the game got faster he got slower, and I think that’s the same for me.

“I have really appreciated all of the support I have received at Newcastle Falcons, and I wish I could have spent more time on the field with such a great group of players.

"I was incredibly honoured to have captained Bath and I will always remember how proud I was to be part of a Challenge Cup-winning side. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, especially my friends and family.’’

Crockett now hopes to coach at either school or club level and added: "“I’m really excited about the future and want to now get into school or club coaching, and use my rugby knowledge and level three coaching qualification to help students not just on the rugby pitch but also in the class room.

"I still have an open mind about other avenues I might go down as you never know what opportunities can come to light.”

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “I speak on behalf of everyone associated with the club in wishing Alex well for the future. He played his part in our promotion back to the Aviva Premiership in 2013 and this season has unfortunately been hampered by injury.”