Garreth Carvell, the former Great Britain and England prop and a four-time Challenge Cup winner, has announced his retirement from the game.
The 34-year-old is currently Player Welfare Manager at Salford Red Devils and has been forced to hang up his boots by the effects of a series of injuries suffered during his 19-year professional career.
He made almost 350 appearances during a career that saw him play for Leeds Rhinos, Hull FC (twice), Warrington Wolves, Gateshead Thunder, Featherstone Rovers, Castleford Tigers, Wales, England and Great Britain.
Carvell said: “It is with some sadness that I would like to announce my retirement from the greatest game in the world.
“I have played professional rugby since I was 16 and although the mind is still willing unfortunately the body has declared it’s time to stop.
“I’m awaiting a knee replacement and surgery on my neck to replace three prolapsed discs so a lot of recovery time is needed. I’ve got to the stage where I can’t kick a ball around the garden with my son and when the little joys in life like that are out of your reach it’s time to take a step back and realise that the moments are not available forever.
“I have loved being part of a game that has allowed me to make so many friends and allowed me totravel the world. It has been my life for such a long time that leaving the game completely would be impossible for me to do.
“I have taken a role at Salford Red Devils as part of the Youth set up and also as the clubs Player Welfare Manager. I’ll be coaching the under 19s team in the 2016 season and am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“I’d like to thank everybody that has helped me throughout my career, from my start at Leeds Rhinos where I made my debut alongside Kevin Sinfield as a 16-year-old, my two spells at Hull FC, my short stint at Castleford and, of course, my time at Warrington Wolves.
“I was fortunate enough to represent and tour with my country and also had the pleasure to contribute to Challenge Cup wins for Hull FC and Warrington Wolves.
“Nothing will ever be able to replicate the absolute thrill of lifting that trophy alongside my mates, memories like that will stay with me forever.
“I would like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my playing days, my mum and dad for the early years and introducing me to the game that I grew to love and of course my partner Vicki: without her unconditional support there is no way on earth I would of been able to pursue my career in the way I wanted.
“She has been my rock through all the ups and downs and will continue to be throughout the rest of my life.
“The only regrets I have are that I didn’t have my two children earlier, I would have loved them to have supported their old man and enjoy the thrills of big games.
“I also wish I’d have taken an offer to head to South Sydney at the end of the 2008 season and test myself in the NRL.
“Once again, thanks to all the supporters and a special big thank you to all my team-mates
throughout my career. I have a lot of stories that I’ll take to the grave … unless of course I can make a few quid from a kiss and tell book deal!”
Garreth Carvell’s career statistics are as follows:
Featherstone Rovers (2015) 5 apps, 0 points
Castleford Tigers (2014) 6 apps, 1 try, 4 points
Hull FC (2001-2008, 2014) 176 apps, 24 tries, 96 points
Warrington Wolves (2009-2013) 135 apps, 18 tries, 72 points
Leeds Rhinos (1997, 2000) 4 apps, 0 points
Gateshead Thunder (1999, loan) 8 apps, 1 try, 4 points
England (2009-2012) 7 apps, 0 points
Great Britain (Test) (2006) 2 Tests, 0 points
Wales (2000) 3 apps, 0 points
346 apps (181+165), 44 tries, 176 points