Winger McGuigan will hang up his boots at the end of the 22/23 season
The 34-year-old joined from Exeter in 2016 and made over 100 appearances for the club
McGuigan to take up coaching role with the Sharks
Sharks wing Byron McGuigan has confirmed that he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the current Premiership season.
The 33-year-old former Scotland international joined the club in 2016 after two seasons at Exeter Chiefs and quickly became a fan favourite, making over 100 appearances for the Sharks.
McGuigan has always had passion for coaching and took up several roles with grassroots clubs during his time at the Sharks. Whilst completing his RFU coaching qualifications, Byron held roles with Sandbach, Bowden and Rossendale rugby clubs in the North of England and will now take a position within the Sharks back-room staff.
Born in Namibia to a Scottish mother and South African father, Byron took an unusual route through the ranks of rugby union to eventually end up at Sale Sharks. McGuigan started his career aged 21 playing for South African Currie Cup outfit Border Bulldogs, where he made 13 appearances before moving to the UK.
The winger’s pace and agility set him apart from his team-mates and Byron was quickly identified as a talent by the Scottish Rugby Union who, thanks to his mother’s heritage, gave him an opportunity to join their sevens set up in 2011. Byron went on to make six appearances on the sevens circuit that season, before moving back to the 15-a-side game when offered a contract by Glasgow Warriors.
After two years and 20 appearances for Glasgow, McGuigan made a move to New Zealand after taking up an opportunity to play in the Mitre 10 Cup with Bay of Plenty. Following a short stint in Tauranga, he made the move back to the UK, this time joining Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership.
After two years with Exeter, Byron felt the time was right for a change and made the switch North to Sale Sharks, settling with his young family in Manchester. McGuigan went on to make a huge impact with the Sharks; a memorable hat-trick against Gloucester Rugby in his first season cemented his status as a fan favourite at the AJ Bell Stadium, with ‘Horse’ going on to make over 100 appearances for the club over the next six seasons.
Byron said: “It feels bittersweet really; I have had a great career, but I’m really excited for what lies ahead. My passion is coaching now and I’m very lucky to have an opportunity to stay at the top level of the game.
“Throughout my career, I have always been surrounded by great people, especially at Sale and I have so many good memories both on and off the pitch. I’ve made some incredible friends that will be there for life, and the journey isn’t even over yet!
“There are some great characters in the game, we’ve got such a good group of boys at the Sharks, everybody brings something different and that’s what I love so much about rugby. I must credit the owners and the coaches who have provided a great platform for us to grow and excel as a team but most of all I would like to thank the fans. It’s always been special to play at the AJ Bell, I have so many fond memories to take away from my career and it’s down to the atmosphere the Sharks Family create on a matchday.
“I wouldn’t change anything for the world, I’m very fortunate to have had the career I have had.
“It’s exciting to still be a part of this great club and I’m grateful to Alex for giving me an opportunity to join his coaching staff. I think I can bring a lot to the team as a younger coach and recent professional. I can’t wait to get stuck in and help the boys push themselves even further.”