FORMER Melrose and Edinburgh Rugby centre George Taylor has announced his retirement from rugby due to health reasons.

The 25-year-old hasn’t featured this season due to concussion and has now made the decision to hang up his boots with his own health and wellbeing paramount in his decision-making process, while taking on a new career in the family business of veterinary pharmaceutical supplies.

A product of Earlston High School, Taylor came through the ranks at Borders side Melrose before seeing out his final year of education at Loretto School.

The centre represented Scotland at both U18 and U20 level – winning seven caps and scoring a try for the senior age-grade side – while, as a FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy player, Taylor played a pivotal role in Melrose’s Scottish Cup and Premiership double-winning season in 2017/18.

The centre has made 38 appearances for the capital club – scoring six tries – since making his professional debut against Munster in November 2018.

He said: “My decision to step away from rugby is ultimately down to health reasons and I’ve got to think about my health for the future.

“I’ve had a history of head injuries that have set me back for months, so after a lot of discussion with management and family, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should step away and move on to other opportunities.

“It’s certainly not been a quick decision. It’s been thought through ever since I got a concussion while in pre-season back in August. It’s been on my mind and I’ve made some sacrifices to try and prepare for life after rugby.

“I had a long conversation with my family prior to Christmas and they shared their opinions, while not trying not to make a decision for me. My brother also retired due to head knocks and he gave me some good insight into how he was afterwards.

“You look back at photos of yourself at games with family and you quickly realise how important family is. Obviously, rugby means so much to me. I’ve been playing since I was six and this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, if not the hardest.

“Throughout this all, the support of both the Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby medical teams has been massive and I’ll forever be thankful for their ongoing care and support.”

“I just want to thank all those that have supported me throughout my career – fans, players, coaches, family and friends. Despite the injuries, it’s been a privilege to play the sport I love professionally and I can honestly say I step away knowing that I gave everything to the game.

Head Coach Mike Blair, added: “We’re obviously gutted for George and we’ll be sad to see him leave the club because we’re losing a great player and an even better person, that been an integral member of our playing squad for the last four seasons.

“It’s never easy to see any player step away from the game at a young age, however, health and family always comes first and it’s clear that George hasn’t taken this decision lightly in any way – rugby is the sport he loves, so I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him.

“George is a great guy and someone that players and supporters respect massively because of his commitment to the jersey and the way he plays the game. He’ll be sorely missed by everyone connected to Edinburgh Rugby and we wish him the very best moving forward.”