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World's oldest rugby player finally hangs up his boots - aged 79

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

  • The world's oldest rugby player, Benny Goodman from Devon, who played his last ever match on Sunday - aged 79.

  • This picture from 2004 shows Benny (front) with the Paignton team.

  • The world's oldest rugby player, Benny Goodman from Devon, who played his last ever match on Sunday - aged 79.

  • This picture shows the program for Benny's final game last Sunday against the South Devon Barbarians.

  • This picture from approx 1999 shows Benny (front row, hand on ball) with the Paignton team.

  • The world's oldest rugby player, Benny Goodman from Devon, who played his last ever match on Sunday - aged 79.

  • rugby11

  • This archive picture from 1963 shows Benny (back row, far right) during his days playing for Devon General FC.

  • rugby12

  • This picture from 1995 shows Benny (front row, far left) with the Paignton squad.

  • The world's oldest rugby player, Benny Goodman from Devon, who played his last ever match on Sunday - aged 79.

  • The world's oldest rugby player, Benny Goodman from Devon, who played his last ever match on Sunday - aged 79.

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The world’ oldest rugby player has played his last ever match – aged 79.

The astounding rugby career came to an end on Sunday when Benny Goodman ran out for the last time – on doctor’s orders.

Benny was 79 earlier this month and members of Paignton Rugby Club in Devon say he is the oldest rugby player in the world

Sunday’s game was a testimonial for the twinkle-toed fullback who still has a quick turn of pace.

The former serviceman was a late convert to the oval-ball having been a dyed-in-the-wool soccer player until his late 30s.

He switched games at 38 and stuck with rugby ever since.

He said: “My GP advised me to stop because my body was getting a bit creaky.

“There was a lot of tackling involved at fullback though I was still pretty quick.

“But I’m getting to the age where a was picking up a few knocks against the younger lads.

“My wife Carole is happy I’ve stopped though I shall miss playing.

“I’m hoping to carry on my involvement though running the line as an assistant referee.”

He said he used to play football until he was dropped.

“I used to play football for Devon General until they got a new manager in who said I was too old for a regular game,” he recalled.

“He said they would give me a call if they were short – and that really rankled with me.

“Tommy Scott, a pal of mine, suggested trying rugby, so I started going training with him at Paignton.

“They tried me at hooker first, which I quite enjoyed, but I really wanted to play somewhere in the team where I could stretch my legs.

“So I had a go at full-back and on the wing and played there ever since.

“I never had any great ambitions to play in the first team and was happy just to play in the seconds.

“But I did get four games for the firsts – including one against Bristol United, who had an England B international playing.

“And when Lew Wood started the Rams XV (third team), I just carried on playing.”

He had scaled down his rugby playing in recent seasons but whenever Paignton had a Veterans’ game he would have at least 10 minutes.

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