Wigglesworth to bow out on 250 Sarries games
Three thousand, six hundred and eighty-four. That’s how many days have passed between Richard Wigglesworth’s Saracens debut and his farewell appearance this Sunday.
From the first minute he wore the shirt for the first time against London Irish, he has epitomised the club’s values and given his all for the Men in Black.
He’ll continue to do so until the final second of his final match against Bath because that is the type of character he is.
His contribution has been immeasurable. Not just on the pitch, but off it too.
“He’s always wanted the best for the club,” fellow nine Tom Whiteley said of a man he’s learned off immensely.
“Whenever he steps out on to the field, he gives his absolute all no matter what’s happening in the game. Even when he hasn’t been involved, he’s been out on the pitch coaching, helping the lads. He’s a great leader.
“He’s someone I’ve looked up to massively since I joined the club. He’s helped me in more ways than he’ll probably know. He’s been an unbelievable person to look up to and work with.
“It will be a shame to see him go. He’s been an amazing servant to Sarries.”
“To be able to fill that shirt and fill his boots with what he’s done for the club would be amazing. If I can do half of what he’s done, I’d be a happy man in my rugby career.”
It’s not a coincidence that Wigglesworth’s Saracens journey has mirrored a 10-year period of success which has seen the Men in Black win multiple Premiership and European titles.
His consistency and drive, alongside several key leaders who have also spent a long time in north London, has been instrumental and despite being 37-years-old, he feels he has more to give to the game.
It’s that mentality that has seen him become the Premiership’s all-time appearance holder and perform at the top level for so long.
“It shows what an unbelievable competitor, player and person he’s been,” former teammate at Sale Sharks and Sarries Charlie Hodgson said.
“He’s leaving behind a legacy of an amazing club, but when you add the amount of Premiership games he has played, it’s not just the legacy at club but legacy at Premiership level with being the all-time appearance holder and his legacy in Europe.
“There’s so much more to what he’s given to one club. He demands a lot of other people but at the same time he demands a lot of himself. He expects himself to work hard and deliver and because of that he can demand it of others.
“It’s testament to him that he’s still going strong at 37 and still wants to play another year or two because he’s feeling good.
“It will be a shame to see him go. He’s been an amazing servant to Sarries. They’ve certainly had a top, quality scrum-half there and he’ll be missed.”
It’s timely that Wigglesworth’s send-off will be a milestone fixture. The 33-time capped England international will make his 250th Saracens outing when Bath visit Allianz Park on the last day of the elongated 2019/20 campaign.
With so many memories made and relationships formed for a decade, it’s difficult for Wigglesworth to put into words how much being a Saracen has meant to him.
But having him as a Saracen has meant a lot to everyone who has been associated with the club for the past 10 years.
Bowing out on 250 is fitting. Thank you, Wiggy.
“It’s a tough one to summarise but I’ve loved it,” Wigglesworth said.
“I’ve loved being part of the group. I’ve probably laughed every day. I’ll miss everything. I’ve loved having bonds with all the players that have left and all those who are still here.
“There’s been a lot of passion in what we’ve done which has created the memories. When you’re all really into it and all desperate for something and a cause then the feeling when it goes well is great and vice versa when it doesn’t go so well the feeling really hurts.
“I think you can’t take the hurt for granted because you don’t want to be one of those teams or players that when you lose big games it doesn’t matter. I think we’ve made the group and the team matter. From Nigel down, everyone is really bothered about what we do it and how we do it.
“Sunday is another chance to go out and enjoy what you do and enjoy being part of the group. I have some brilliant memories and it’s nice to finish off on a nice, round 250.”