Russell forced to retire
PA Sport
July 18, 2007

London Irish and Scotland hooker Robbie Russell has been forced to retire through injury.

The 31-year-old made 20 appearances for the Guinness Premiership side last season, nine from the bench.

But a recurring shoulder/neck problem has not cleared, and the Brisbane-born forward has been advised that playing on is not worth the risk.

Russell said: ``I've had a great career and thoroughly enjoyed my rugby wherever I've played.

``I would like to have played on for another couple of seasons - unfortunately that is not going to be physically possible.

``I would like to thank all the players, coaches and management and supporters I have met over the years - and specifically at London Irish - for their help, friendship and encouragement over the past three seasons.''

Russell began his career in Australia with Souths before moving to his grandfather's homeland, where he played for Aberdeen GSFP and Edinburgh Reivers.

He joined Saracens in 1999, before moving to London Irish in July 2004, where he scored seven tries in 60 games.

Exiles director of football Brian Smith said: ``We're sorry that Robbie has had to call it a day on his career, and we sympathise with his situation.

``His dynamic ball-carrying and aggressive defence will be missed.

``We thank him for his great contribution to the club and wish him and his family well for the future.''

Russell also won 27 caps for Scotland and scored four tries.

Scotland coach Frank Hadden said: ``I am sorry to hear that injury has forced Robbie Russell to retire. I wish him all the best.

``I first came across him playing club rugby for Aberdeen Grammar and promptly got him involved with the Caledonia Reds professional team.

``Robbie played in both the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cup competitions, scoring tries against Uruguay and Australia respectively.

``The competition for the hooker position in the national side has been intense in recent times - and I always kept an eye on his form because, at his best, he was a quality front-row forward.''

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