Former Scottish Rugby Union international Tom Ryder is swapping the rugby field for the classroom after announcing his retirement from the game to begin a career in teaching.
Ryder, who was capped twice by Scotland in 2012, will begin training as a teacher at Leeds Beckett University in September after deciding to hang up his boots as a professional player. However, he will be aiming to use his fifteen years experience as a professional rugby player to good use as a PE teacher.
Commenting on the decision to retire, the 31-year-old said, “I have been thinking about my career post rugby for a long time. When I was in Scotland, I worked in a high school in Glasgow and it was something I enjoyed doing. When you finish playing rugby you know you need to start doing something else and if you don’t plan you can come unstuck.
“For the last four or five years I have been gaining experience of teaching in my spare time from training and worked in a number of schools through the various community programmes that the clubs I have played at have been involved in.
"Staying in Yorkshire was always an option and I am delighted that things have worked out so I can study at Leeds Beckett University. Naturally as a professional player you move all over the place but my wife and two children are settled in Yorkshire and we all want to stay. I have enjoyed my time at Yorkshire Carnegie, albeit a frustrating period with injuries for me personally. However, I am pleased that I can move onto the next phase of my life straight away this September,” added Ryder.
Yorkshire Carnegie signed Ryder from Northampton Saints last summer. The second row made his debut for Leicester when he was just 18 having played his junior rugby at Newark. He made three appearances for the Tigers before moving to Saracens. In six seasons for Saracens he made 98 appearances before the opportunity came to move to Scotland with Glasgow Warriors. An outstanding season in 2011-12 saw him named in the Pro 12 Team of the Year and earned him a Scotland call up for the summer Southern Hemisphere tour, qualifying through his Glasgow-born father. Scotland were unbeaten on the tour with Ryder involved in all three games including the win of Australia before playing in the wins over Samoa and Fiji. He made 87 appearances for Glasgow from 2010 until 2014.
Looking back on his career, Ryder said, “There have been lots of highlights and I have been privileged to have played for some good clubs and played at the top level of rugby. There are certain games which stand out as special and my time at Glasgow was some of the best rugby I played. To be named in Pro 12 team of the year was a great honour as was going on tour with Scotland. That tour was a great success and an historic one for Scotland. The last few years has been tough with injuries and unfortunately I have never been able to get back to the same form I had before. Having played professional since I was a teenager, I have enjoyed my career and now I am looking forward to my next challenge in teaching.”