Ryan walks out on Highlanders
March 30, 2008

Highlanders lock James Ryan has shocked the Super 14 franchise by announcing that he is to take an "indefinite break" from rugby with immediate effect.

The Highlanders have yet to win in this year's Super 14 and Ryan's news is a massive blow. The 25-year-old former All Black has not played since suffering a knee injury in April 2007, and he cited injury as the reason for the break.

"I've decided to have an indefinite break. Some might say that's no decision but it's been a big decision for me to make," Ryan told the Otago Daily Times. "I've had three limb reconstructions in 12 months and that has been pretty frustrating for me to deal with. Rehabbing is not a nice thing to be doing all the time.

"I think I just need to have a bit of space to physically give my body a complete break from rugby."

Nevertheless Ryan has not ruled out a return to the game.

"I'm not saying my time in Dunedin is over," he said. "I loved the place, and the Otago union were extremely good to me. I'm not saying my career is over. Far from it. But it's impossible for me to put a time on it.

"Four years ago, rugby was just completely everything to me. I wouldn't have expected to be doing what I am now. But it's not money or opportunities that will make me want to play rugby again. I have to really want to be doing it."

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