With Chris Hallam, Doncaster Knights certainly struck gold.
But as the Championship season looms, the club will have to go on without their long-serving scrum-half who has announced his retirement to concentrate on his bespoke jewellery business.
At only 30-years-old, Hallam understands people may be shocked by his decision, however, his mind was firmly made up when a shoulder injury not only set back his rugby but also his business.
And as CH Jewellery really began to take off, with the Rugby Players’ Association using the goldsmith’s range, the decision to give up rugby became relatively easy.
“It’s been on the cards for a while now because if I get hurt in rugby, my business suffers,” said Hallam, who got into being a goldsmith after working in his uncle and auntie’s workshop.
“Last year my business was doing okay so I told the club I couldn’t commit to full-time and that I’d probably move on if needs be.
“They wanted me to stay as a part-time player which was great for me.
“Rugby was going well until I bust my shoulder. That’s when it hit home.
“The injury happened around Christmas which is a busy time of year for jewellery. Luckily I had my surgery pretty quick and I managed to get all my jobs done.
“I decided that it was time to finish the season, hopefully help the team get promotion and end on a high before moving onto my next chapter.”
Hallam, who has spent six seasons with the club and amassed more than 100 appearances, played a part in the Knights’ dramatic final day victory at Blackheath - his last game for Doncaster.
“I thought I’d get really emotional but I was happy,” he told the Free Press.
“I have kept my retirement under wraps. Some people like to make a song and dance about it but it’s not my style.”
Former Worcester player Hallam admits to not yet having had time to miss the game. However, he is happy to offer advice to players if they need to call upon his invaluable experience.
“I was at the club recently and talking to Clive [Griffiths - Knights’ director of rugby] about next season and we were both keen for me to stick around the club,” he said.
“It’s a big part of my life so it’ll be nice to still be involved in matchdays and using my experience if needed.
“I might play the odd charity match. Maybe I could do a Planch [Chris Planchant] and come back if they’re struggling!
“People say I’ve got years left in rugby, and I probably have, but I’m not going to chase anything. I’m at that age now where I make my own decisions and I’m happy with what I have done.”
Despite suffering the heartache of Championship relegation with the Knights in 2013, the former Dinnington and Rotherham ace has enjoyed several highlights during his career with the South Yorkshire club.
Hallam fondly recalled getting the club captaincy in 2011, match-winning performances against Bristol and Leeds, and this season’s National One championship win as top highlights.
He added: “I’ve had a great rugby career. Thank you to everyone involved at the Knights. It’s thank you but not goodbye for me.”
For more on Chris’s business, visit www.chjewellerydesign.com or follow his Twitter page @CHJewellery.