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‘In that moment all that mattered was Scott’ – Inside the emotional meeting when an Ospreys star told his team-mates his career was suddenly over

Last month, popular Ospreys hooker Scott Otten was forced to retire from the game at the age of just 26.

An innocuous neck injury ended his career prematurely, after 110 appearances for his one and only region.

Otten has opened up in an interview with Gist Vile about the decision and the emotions that surrounded the day he made the public announcement.

But Ospreys boss Toby Booth has now shed a light on the moment Otten insisted on telling his team-mates personally that his career was over.

Otten, who suffered the injury in January, wanted to be the one to break the news to his fellow players and did so by standing up in a team meeting.

Booth ranks it as one of the most emotional moments he’s ever witnessed in a rugby environment.

“He wanted to tell the team himself. He didn’t want me to do it,” said the Ospreys head coach.

“He came into the team room and explained it. That was a very emotional thing for him and for us to watch.

“The reaction of the team was outstanding. In my time in rugby, it’s up there in the top three emotional moments that I’ve witnessed within a team.

“That tells me that I’ve got a lot of the right people on the bus and a very good culture because ultimately the wagons circled and in that moment all that mattered was Scott.

“That’s the definition of friendship, teamship and culture in a nutshell.”

Otten picked up the neck issue in a game against the Dragons earlier this year but the gravity of the situation was not immediately apparent.

He dismissed it as just a sore neck but Booth insists that, had it not been picked up by the medical team, the consequences could have been horrendous.

“Scott’s a smart lad and there were elements of risk,” Booth explained. “It was an excellent diagnosis from our medical team. It could have been catastrophic had we not… It was fairly innocuous from a training point of view.

“It was in the game and the session after it we identified a potential injury. It was a little bit like: ‘My neck’s a little bit sore’ but on further investigation, thank God we found what we did, for his own sake.

“Pragmatism has to play a part. It doesn’t lessen the shock, it doesn’t lessen the impact on the individual, the team and the player’s family because all of a sudden he’s not playing.”

Away from rugby, Otten runs an established coffee business, SO Coffee, and is a level two qualified coach with ambitions of progressing to level three.

If there is a silver lining, it’s that he has prepared himself for life after rugby.

“The good thing is that he’s an intelligent lad,” said Booth.

“He’s got business interests outside of rugby and he’s taken care of himself, which is probably a lesson that a lot of players should adhere to.

“He’s made a plan for life after rugby and, from a transition point of view, that makes it easy.

“You saw in his exit how much he cares about the Ospreys. He’s still going to be around, he’s still supplying coffee to us all.

“I’m really pleased about that because we want to try and keep the family feel and one of our own as connected to us as possible.”

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