Aviva Premiership
Scrum-half Powell forced to retire
ESPNscrum Staff
August 15, 2011
Saints' Ryan Powell spins the ball out, Northampton Saints v Cardiff Blues, Heineken Cup, Franklin's Gardens, December 11, 2010
Ryan Powell will hang up his boots after suffering a neck injury © Getty Images

Northampton Saints scrum-half Ryan Powell has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect after failing to recover from a neck injury.

The 31-year-old half-back suffered the injury in early 2011 which brought an end to his season and ultimately put pay to his career. The scrum-half arrived at Franklin's Gardens in the summer of 2010 having played for Worcester Warriors. Earning three caps for Wales during his career, Powell played 19 games for the Saints last term.

And the news understandably comes as a huge blow for Powell.

"Obviously I'm gutted and devastated that my career has finished this way," he said. "No player wants to retire, whether it's part of a natural process or because of injury - you want to think you can go on forever.

"It's been a massive shock and it probably won't sink in until I'm watching the players running out and I'm not a part of it. It's been great at the club and I've enjoyed myself.

"I played a lot more rugby than I was expecting to play, and enjoyed being part of a squad that was part of the Heineken Cup final. All in all it's been a great part of my career.

"Playing for my country was my major career highlight - it's every young kid's dream and I was lucky enough to play for Wales, which was a massive achievement. Cardiff was my first club, I was there for a long time, and Northampton was a fantastic opportunity for me towards the end of my career.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me in my career - there are too many people to pinpoint anyone in particular - but I'd like to thank Jim and the coaches at Northampton for giving me the opportunity."

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder paid tribute to the scrum-half and wished him well in his future endeavors.

"Ryan brought plenty of experience and enthusiasm to Franklin's Gardens last summer and we have enjoyed having him at the club," he said. "He always gave 100 percent and played in some of our biggest wins of the season in the Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership.

"Injury is always something that can happen in rugby, but it does not make it any less disappointing that this has forced Ryan to retire from playing. Like everyone at Franklin's Gardens I'd like to wish Ryan and his family all the best for the future and hope to see him back here to cheer on the team from the stands."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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