RUGBY UNION: Wade pays tribute to retiring Carter

Oxford Mail: John Carter, seen here during his final match for Oxford University, has been praised by head coach James Wade John Carter, seen here during his final match for Oxford University, has been praised by head coach James Wade

OXFORD University head coach James Wade spoke of John Carter’s “great leadership” after the record-breaking captain’s retirement from rugby.

Carter, who led the Dark Blues to three successive Varsity Match victories, culminating in last week’s 33-15 success, announced afterwards it had been his final game.

The 32-year-old said his body was telling him to retire, but he has yet to decide on his next move.

“The last three years do speak for themselves,” said Wade, who joined as coach in Carter’s first season as skipper.

“You have got to be a pretty special person to be voted in three times.

“You have got a fair bit of responsibility to take on as captain and for John to actually stand up and want to do it three times is pretty incredible and admirable.

“He has done it with great leadership. I don’t think to a man there was anybody who wasn’t willing to battle for him.”

Wade is confident the club can build on the foundations Carter has put in place.

Carter, who is completing a Master of Studies (M.St.) degree in psychodynamic practice, will hand over to a new captain next term.

He said: “There is an enormous anti-climax after any Varsity Match, win or lose, and we all have to work through that.

“While there is going to be an anti-climax, the next things I go on to do, I will do with as much passion and, hopefully, enjoyment.”

l FLANKER James Harris faces a long spell on the sidelines due to the injury he suffered in the Varsity Match.

Oxford’s Harris was stretchered off in the first half with a dislocated hip and had an operation the next day.

“The hip relocation went very well, but unfortunately he also suffered some knee ligament damage so it is going to be a long slow recovery process,” said OURFC general manager Tim Stevens.

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