Now Reading
Gay rugby player Sam Stanley says he may never return to the sport professionally

Gay rugby player Sam Stanley says he may never return to the sport professionally

Sam Stanley lives in Sicily with long term partner Laurence

Sam Stanley has exclusively told Gay Star News he may never return to professional rugby.

During an interview discussing his new life in Italy with his partner, Stanley explained how a long term injury forced him to take a leave of absence from the sport.

When asked if he might return to the sport professionally, Stanley said: ‘I think at the minute, and how things have gone, not really.’

He added: ‘I miss it a hell of a lot.’

While Stanley didn’t disclose the details of his injury, he said: ‘I guess certain injuries can be hit and miss, some people can recover from them but unfortunately I’ve not.’

However, Stanley is hopeful extended recovery time might change things: ‘I’ll continue rehab and see where I am, but at 26 I still think I have a fair bit of time in me.’

Talking happily about his new life, running a homestay and gym in Sicily with fiancé Laurence Hicks, Stanley added: ‘At the minute, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at’

Stanley was the first professional English rugby player to come out as gay when he spoke publicly about his sexuality in 2015 (Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas, came out in 2009).

He also revealed he attempted suicide after fearing his sexuality would end his rugby career.

Stanley told the Sunday Times: ‘I was standing on a bridge about four or five years ago, overlooking a motorway in Essex… However, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go.’

Sam, 26, and Laurence, 60, received a lot of negative attention because of their age-gap relationship when they announced their engagement earlier this year.

Discussing the backlash, Laurence told Gay Star News: ‘I think people just need to get over it. If you have an attraction to somebody and you fall in love with them then it’s about the embodiment of the love and the feeling[s] you have for each other which override everything else.

I don’t look at Sam and think he’s the age he is, I look at Sam as Sam.’

The couple now live full-time in Sicily and invite people to come and stay with them in their homestay, Casa Piccolo Paradiso, in Sicily, Italy.

Rugby player Sam Stanley’s boyfriend is not who you’d expect, and this is why it’s a very good thing