Yorkshire Carnegie winger Oli Goss has revealed he nearly quit the sport in the summer due to the uncertainty over his future.
The 26-year-old endured an injury-plagued 2013-14 season, and even when fit, saw only fleeting glimpses of first-team action under head coach James Lowes.
In a sport where most players live year to year based on the lengths of their contracts, Goss – who was studying for a masters degree at the same time – was starting to contemplate his future away from the game.
“I had some pretty uncertain times towards the end of last season,” said Goss, who joined the then-Leeds in 2012.
“I spent a lot of time away from the club, finishing my Masters, and wondering what the future held. Rugby is a career that is forever in flux; you’re one knock away from it being all over.
“I was in a position where I was contemplating starting somewhere new or if it wasn’t for me any more.
“If I’d have been injured and forced to retire then I would have accepted that that’s the way it is, that’s rugby.
“Because I’d stopped enjoying it. Sitting in the stands is no fun.
“I got into rugby because of the enjoyment of it, but when you’re not playing and turning up at training and are limited in what you can do, there’s not much fun.”
But Goss has been rejuvenated over the summer.
Free of injury at last and afforded a full pre-season to rededicate himself to the sport he loves, he has been rewarded with a starting shirt in each of Yorkshire’s first three games in the Greene King IPA Championship.
“I’m enjoying my rugby again,” said Goss.
“I’m a lot more confident and playing more often so I’m happy.
“I feel as secure as you can be in a profession that hands out one-year deals.
“There was a lot of competition last year, and while that’s the same again this year, I think maybe I’m benefitting from a different set of eyes looking down on me in Gary Mercer.
“There’s still a lot of depth, but I’ve forced my way in.”
Goss is in the team again to face Doncaster Knights, his former club, tomorrow in the first Yorkshire derby of the season.
Doncaster’s two wins matches Carnegie’s two, with the early-season success of the Knights taking many by surprise – but not Goss.
“To be honest, with the squad they had, it was quite an accomplishment to get relegated,” he said in reference to their demotion two seasons ago.
“But now they’re back and having looked at them they are very strong defensively, which is the Clive Griffiths way, and they have dangerous strike runners like Mat Clark, who will know well up here from his time at Leeds.
“I had four great seasons at Doncaster, suffered a bit with injuries but made some strong freindships.
“I shared a house with Richard List who I’ll be going up against tomorrow and know a lot of the guys.”
Aviva Premiership side London Wasps have agreed a player exchange agreement with Yorkshire Carnegie, with fly-half Glyn Hughes moving south and winger Jonah Holmes returning to Headingley Carnegie, where he spent last season on loan.
Hughes, 22, has started the first three games of the season for Yorkshire Carnegie but will move to Wasps with immediate effect.
Holmes made 25 appearances and scored 15 tries for Leeds last term.