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Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Sunday, 17 May 2009 15:59 UK

Hodgson urges Catt not to retire

Mike Catt
Catt is the Premiership's oldest player

Paul Hodgson wants his veteran London Irish team-mate Mike Catt to extend his playing career by another year.

The assistant coach, at 37 the oldest player in the Premiership, has yet to decide on his future having played in Saturday's Twickenham final.

"I would love him to play one more season because he's such a fabulous player," said scrum-half Hodgson.

"He does the right things at the right time, putting us in the right areas of the pitch, and conditioning-wise."

He added: "I call him Dennis Bergkamp.

"I am an Arsenal fan and I keep on saying to Catty, 'One more year, one more year', like the Arsenal faithful used to do with Dennis."


Catt's experience, on and off the field of play, has been invaluable for London Irish during their league campaign that culminated in a Premiership final appearance against Leicester on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the England World Cup winner could not help his team defeat the might of the Tigers who held on for a 10-9 win and their sixth Premiership title in 11 years.

"I think coach Toby Booth would like him to be in the stand because he's such an amazing coach as well, but who is to say?" added Hodgson.

"It is only a decision Catty can make himself, and whichever one he makes it will be the right one."

Catt would only offer a 'we'll see' when asked about his playing future after Saturday's final.

The Exiles have signed Ryan Lamb from Gloucester and Chris Malone from Harlequins as fly-half options for next season in the wake of Shane Geraghty's departure to Northampton.

But Malone will miss the early part of the season through injury, which could delay Catt's retirement.

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see also
Leicester 10-9 London Irish
16 May 09 |  English
Guinness Premiership final photos
16 May 09 |  Rugby Union
As it happened - Leicester v London Irish
16 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Catt to enjoy Twickenham finale
14 May 09 |  London Irish
Catt is 'ultimate pro' - O'Shea
15 May 09 |  London Irish
London Irish sign fly-half Lamb
12 May 09 |  London Irish

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