Kopczak keen to carry on – while looking ahead

Craig Kopczak knows that he’s entered the twilight years of his career.

At 33, the former Wales captain accepts that one day in the relatively near future his boots will be hung up.

That’s why he has gone to university, to take up a sports science degree to prepare for life after his rugby days are finished.

“We can retire twice in our lifetimes,” Kopczak told League Express.

“I’ll be retiring from rugby eventually, so I’ve got to look at the next phase of my life once the playing days are over.

“I’m looking at going down the teaching route, but while I’m doing the course avenues are opening up everywhere.

“There are routes I can go down, such as massage, nutrition, coaching or teaching. It’s been an eye-opener really. It’s nice and refreshing to step away sometimes.”

That said, Kopczak has no plans to retire any time soon, or even go into the part-time ranks.

The prop is off-contract with Wakefield at the end of the season, but he wants to stay at the top beyond 2020.

“I want to stay full-time as long as possible,” he said.

“The body feels great and rugby is still good too. I’m focusing more on the rugby while looking ahead at the same time. But I want to keep going as long as I can.

“You blink and it’s gone. I’ve enjoyed my career, but it’s flown by and I’m here now at 33.

“I still want to win things and that comes with the game, but I think the body will tell me when the time is right. I’m doing extra training now as I get older. It’s totally different to being 26 or 27, everyone knows that, but you put things in place and do things smarter. That includes extra stretching training, and I keep my fitness levels up. The body does feel it after games, but I do the extras in recovery boots I purchased myself. Those one-percenters help.

“With regards to my contract, with all this going on nobody knows anything and it’s up in the air.

“I’ve good representation in Iestyn Harris and he’ll help me in that regard, but I just can’t say what’s happening at the moment. People just want and need some clarity so we can get moving again.”