MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 15:22:36

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton announces retirement

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton announces that he is retiring from rugby at the age of 29 after a year out through injury.

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has announced that he has made the decision to retire from rugby at the age of 29.

Warburton has been sidelined since representing the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand last summer, with neck and knee surgery keeping the flanker out of the sport.

The Cardiff Blues player recently made a return to training in a bid to resume his playing career but after failing to meet his previous level, Warburton has opted to call time on his spell on the pitch.

Warburton said: "Unfortunately, after a long period of rest and rehabilitation the decision to retire from rugby has been made with my health and wellbeing as a priority as my body is unable to give me back what I had hope for on my return to training.

"I cannot thank the Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff Blues enough, who have gone beyond the call of duty, in providing the support I received to help me get back on the field, for which I will be forever grateful.

"Since I first played aged 10 at Llanishen Fach Primary School, then Whitchurch High School and Rhiwbina Juniors RFC, I always dreamed of playing for my hometown club the Cardiff Blues, Wales and the British and Irish Lions. To look back on my career, I'm extremely proud of what I managed to achieve.

"I would like the make special mention of Warren Gatland. Without the faith he had in me and his unwavering support I would never have had the career I was able to pursue."

Warburton ends his career having made 74 appearances for his country.

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Sam Warburton of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 15, 2015
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