Joe Worsley’s decision to hang his boots up this week marks the end of a cracking career from a bloke who gave his all on the field.
I have known Joe for a while now. He is great company, he plays the piano well – God know how with his sausage fingers – and he shares my love of cooking, something he is also quite good at.
Alright... very good.
He was renowned as a great tackler and he would tackle for you all day, as I found out to my detriment during many Leicester v Wasps games over the years.
It was probably that reputation that led to a very amusing moment when we played against Samoa in the 2007 World Cup in France.
In the build up to the game, we watched tapes of the Samoans and they were consistently running Henry Tuilagi off the back of the lineout near the opponents 22. We agreed that Joe would tackle him being our chief tree-chopper. Joe nodded expectantly. Nobody would get past him, not even 18 stones of Samoan meat.
Well, that moment came in the game, they ran exactly what we expected, Joe completely missed Tuilagi and only a last-ditch tackle by Jason Robinson stopped a try.
There were more memorable moments too. He was a World Cup winner in 2003 with England and earned 78 caps before a neck injury forced him to retire.
We spent a lot of time together during that 2007 World Cup. We did a lot of CV work together after games because we spent a lot of time on the bench.
And in our spare time, we watched off-the-wall American comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I think we were the only two blokes in the squad who got the humour.
Throughout the tournament, I called him Larry and he called me Jeff – the two leading characters.
We still do to this day.
Good luck in retirement Larry. You’ll be missed on the pitch.
Read more from Dan Hipkiss.
Find out who Larry and Jeff are; buy Curb Your Enthusiasm.