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Flatley retirement is a big loss: Wallaby Coach Connolly

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The Australian Rugby Union has paid tribute to Qantas Wallaby and QR Queensland Reds flyhalf and centre Elton Flatley following his announcement today that he is retiring from Rugby.


Flatley revealed that he has received medical advice about his ongoing problems with blurred vision, which has led to him making the tough decision to give up playing the game he loves.


Flatley, who has played 38 Tests for the Wallabies, 85 Super games for the Reds and more than 100 caps for Queensland, has made an enormous contribution to the Wallabies and to Australian Rugby both on and off the field.


ARU CEO and Managing Director Gary Flowers praised Flatley for his achievements.


“Elton is an extremely talented player who has made a strong contribution to the success of the Wallabies, and his premature retirement is a great loss to the game in Australia,” Flowers said.


“Well liked and respected by all who have played with him and against him, Flatley established himself as one of the class inside backs in world.”


“Off the field he has been a wonderful role model for kids, especially in his home state of Queensland, but it goes without saying that his health and wellbeing are of paramount importance and everyone is extremely supportive of his decision.


“Elton has received ongoing advice from specialists in Melbourne and Brisbane in recent times, and the most important thing is that he has not suffered any long-term or permanent injury,” said Flowers.


If there was one moment that defined Flatley’s eight-year career at Test level, it was his extraordinary composure and concentration as he calmly kicked a tricky penalty goal to take England to extra time in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.


Flately became the youngest player to represent Queensland since Michael Lynagh when he made his state debut in 1996, despite not having played a senior club Rugby match.


He made his Test debut the next year against England, but didn’t become a regular in the Wallaby team until 2001 when he played a crucial role in the historic series victory over the British and Irish Lions.


By the time the Rugby World Cup came around, he was an essential part of the Wallaby backline and started in all but the Namibia Test during the campaign.


In the Rugby World Cup Test against Romania at Suncorp Stadium, Flatley set a new world record for the fastest try ever scored when he crossed after just 18 seconds.


Qantas Wallaby Coach John Connolly who first coached Flatley at state level in Queensland and signed him straight out of school to Reds, says he will be sorely missed.


“It’s a big loss for the Wallabies, to be without someone of his experience and talent,” said Connolly.


“He’s made a tremendous contribution to the game in Australia, particularly Queensland, and was a very proud, modest and unassuming bloke when he came into the game, and that hasn’t changed over the last ten years.  He will be missed.”


Flowers says Flatley is well prepared for entering the post-Rugby phase of his life.


“Elton’s situation highlights the need for players and administrators to ensure all players are fully prepared and qualified for life after Rugby.


“In Elton’s case, he has been studying a Diploma of Financial Planning through Deakin University and has indicated he will now finish those studies before moving into his post-Rugby career.


“Everyone in the ARU and the wider Australian Rugby community will be wishing Flats all the best for his ongoing career”.


FLATLEY, Elton

TEST CAP No. 742


Position: Flyhalf/Centre


Height: 178 cm


Weight: 90 kg


Born: 7 May 1977, Tamworth, QLD


Club: Brothers (Brisbane)


Super 12 Team: Queensland Reds 1996-


State Caps: 114


Super 14 Caps: 86


Super 14 Points:612 [9t, 93c,126p, 1dg]


Honours:Australian Schoolboys 1994, Australian U21s 1996-1998 (captain), AIS Australian


Barbarians 1997, Australia A 2004, Australian Wallabies 1998-2005


Senior Tours: 1997 – Argentina & UK. 2000 – Japan, France & UK. 2001 – UK & Europe.


2002 – Argentina, UK & Europe. 2003 – RWC (Aus). 2004 – UK & France.


Test debut: 1997 v England, London 
2004 TEST MINUTES: 185
Test points: 179 [4 tries, 30 conversions, 33 penalties] 
2005 TEST MINURES: 38


Test caps: 38

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