Scarlets and Wales back row forward, Dafydd Jones has been forced to retire after failing to recover fully from a serious shoulder injury.
Jones initially sustained the A/C joint shoulder injury playing for Wales against New Zealand in November 2009. He has since had two operations to repair significant nerve damage and to attempt to regain more power back in his left shoulder.
But after consulting specialists before Christmas, Jones has taken the tough decision to hang up his boots, a decision which he said was “a very difficult one” to take.
Jones said: “This has been a really tough time for me and my family and it’s a very hard decision to retire from rugby which has been the sport and career I’ve known and loved since I was a teenager. All my efforts have gone into playing rugby for the Scarlets and for Wales and I am very proud of and enjoyed everything I have done.
“It has taken a while to sink in that I’m not actually going to be playing any more, but the decision was really made for me as the medics said there was no way back from the damage caused by the injury.
“The good thing is I have great memories of playing – some great contests and victories to look back on with real enjoyment, I’m lucky that I’ve played alongside, against and worked with some world-class rugby greats.
“I’ve had great opportunities as a player – a World Cup in 2003, being part of the Wales squad for the 2005 Grand Slam and there’s the 2004 international against the All Blacks and being up against Richie McCaw – I won’t forget that contest!
“There’s been lots of great Scarlets highlights mainly the European ones like beating Northampton at Franklin Gardens, the Toulouse back-to-back wins home and away and I was part of two Celtic league wins for the Scarlets as well.”
“I’d really like to thank everyone that’s supported me over the past decade and a half and I appreciate all the chances and experiences I’ve had. I haven’t decided fully what I want to do next, but I’m really grateful to the Scarlets, who are giving me the next six months to get experience of working within the region to help me identify where my future path might be and what’s best for me an my family – whether inside or outside rugby.”
Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “Daf has been a trusted, committed and respected senior member of this Scarlets squad and a loyal servant to our team for over a decade. All his colleagues here are disappointed to see such a great player and popular teammate having to end his career early.”