'Such a special person' - Dowson praises Ethan as Saints prop opts for retirement

Phil Dowson has praised 'special person' and 'very skilful player' Ethan Waller after it was announced that the prop will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
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Just a day after Alex Waller's decision to hang up his boots this summer was confirmed, news arrived about Ethan.

The 31-year-old, like Alex, is a product of Saints’ Academy and has gone on to rack up plenty of appearances for the black, green and gold.

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Ethan made his debut in an Anglo-Welsh Cup match against Harlequins back in 2012 and became a regular in the first-team squad during the club’s historic double-winning campaign of 2013/14, making 15 Premiership appearances and winning Saints’ young player of the season award.

Ethan Waller (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ethan Waller (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ethan Waller (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

In total, he made 95 appearances during his first stint with Saints, becoming a supporter favourite around cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens thanks not only to his eye-catching performances, but also for helping to set-up numerous fundraising events for charity.

Ethan departed for Sixways in 2017 in search of more game time, making more than 100 appearances for Worcester, but returned to Saints in the summer of 2022 and brought up a century of black, green and gold caps in November of that year against Newcastle Falcons.

And Dowson has nothing but good words to say about the hugely popular squad member.

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The Saints boss said: “Ethan was coming through the Academy while I was still playing here, and you could immediately tell he was a character, as well as a very skilful player with huge potential.

“He wasn’t getting enough game time back then, so moved to Worcester to further his career and improve as a player, but we were always keen to get him back to his home club and playing for Saints again.

“Since he’s returned, he’s still had that incredible ability to be a real social connector for the whole group, while putting in some excellent performances when called upon.

"He’s bright with a cracking sense of humour, but his number one reason for being here is to play rugby.

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“He’s in with a very competitive group of loosehead props at the moment, and no doubt will have been frustrated at times not to get more minutes, but he wants to make the last part of his career an enjoyable one so will definitely be getting stuck in for the remainder of his time here.

“Ethan’s also got all the other stuff he does off the pitch which makes him such a special person; he’s raised loads of money for charity and done loads of work for the RPA – he loves the game and wants to support all the players, and you can’t say anything better than that for an RPA representative.

“We’ll wish him and his family all the best at the end of the season, but for now we hope we can send Ethan off into retirement on a high note.”