A successful professional rugby player has returned to his carpentry roots following his retirement from the game, brushing up the joinery skills he learned to see him through his time as an amateur.

Chris Fortey has been played for Gloucester and Worcester Warriors since he embarked on his rugby career in 1996, but prior to that he spent three years learning his craft as a bench joiner.

After retiring from the game this year, the 36-year-old hooker has now taken up a job at Gloucestershire’s Hartpury College, where he is a key member of the eight-strong maintenance team that ensures the 360-acre site of the agriculture and animal science college is kept in top order.

Fortey told the Gloucester Citizen that he began playing rugby at a time before it was professional, so had had to ensure that he had career skills that could support his playing.

“I am fortunate that I have come through the amateur side of the sport and have also been on the other side of things where I have got my trade and training,” he said. “You have got to get something else because rugby is not going to be there forever.”

The dad-of-three said his time on the pitch has been pivotal in providing him with team-working skills.

“Within the team there is a bricklayer, a builder and a couple of painters so they are covering every trade in that team and I am part of it,” he explained. “I specialise in all the carpentry side of things so there is a lot of work to be done.”