Leicester Tigers winger Scott Hamilton hails Newby's 'awesome' contribution
Leicester Tigers winger Scott Hamilton says fellow Kiwi Craig Newby will be remembered for "playing his guts out" for the club.
Back-rower Newby announced his retirement from the game yesterday after a serious knee injury got the better of him.
The 33-year-old had another year left on his contract at the club.
Hamilton and Newby arrived in Leicester at virtually the same time as the first and second signings of then-head coach Heyneke Meyer in the autumn of 2008.
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They have been friends ever since and Hamilton believes his fellow countryman will be missed by all at the club.
"It's tough to see a mate go through an early retirement," he said.
"Even in your 30s, you think you will finish on your own terms. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened that way for Craig.
"He has been awesome for this club the whole time he has been here. He has never let anyone down and has always played his guts out.
"He's a big loss for this team this year. We have Julian Salvi at open-side flanker playing well but having Craig in the squad was always great and whenever he started a game, we never lacked anything.
"His last game for the club was his man-of-the-match performance in the semi-final against Saracens last season. That was typical of him.
"You don't retire overnight. It's a process you get used to over time and there are lots of things to go through first.
"But eventually, you have to move on. He is away from home and he will work out whether he stays in England or goes home. He is a classic Kiwi and will just crack on."
Newby thanked his friends and supporters via Twitter after yesterday's announcement became public.
He tweeted: "It was a fantastic journey and I would not change a thing.
"A massive thanks to all that have supported me throughout my career in NZ and UK. Sad to leave the game that's given and taken so much."
While Newby has played his last game for the club, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill says long-term injury worries Ben Youngs, Tom Croft, Louis Deacon and Mathew Tait are all heading towards a return to action next month.
The first three are all "hopefully" due back in mid-October, while Tait is nailed on to make his first appearance for the club in a year when the Development XV play Worcester in the A League on October 1.
More immediate is the return to fitness of two of Tigers' summer signings.
Winger Adam Thompstone and inside-centre Dan Bowden came through their second Development XV fixture of the season in the win over Newcastle on Monday and Cockerill said they were both in the mix for a place in the squad that will travel to Wembley on Saturday to face Saracens.
Miles Benjamin will still be missing, however, after picking up a neck injury in the A League game at Northampton on September 3.
It was thought to be no more than a stinger at the time, but the former Worcester man saw a neck specialist yesterday to check there was no further damage.
Greg Garner will referee his 38th Aviva Premiership fixture when he takes charge of Tigers' visit to Wembley to face Saracens.