Injury force Wale and Lion star to retirement from Rugby
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Injury force Wale and Lion star to retirement from Rugby

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Former Wales rugby captain Ken Owens has announced his retirement after failing to recuperate from a back injury.

The 37-year-old hooker, who played five Tests for the British and Irish Lions, has been out for nearly a year due to an injury, last appearing for the Scarlets in April 2023.

Owens won two grand slams and two further Six Nations titles in 91 appearances for Wales, which he led during last year’s Six Nations.

“I’m reluctantly declaring my retirement from rugby. “Not playing has been difficult, but the time has come to take medical advice and hang up my boots,” he stated.

“If I had written the screenplay, there would have been one more game for Wales, the Scarlets, and finally Carmarthen Athletic. An opportunity to sign off and thank everyone involved.

“That was not to be. It may not be the dream ending, but my career has exceeded my expectations.

“Whilst part of me wishes I could have done more, I am well aware that if you had told me as a kid I would be fortunate enough to experience what I have, to have worked with and played with the people I have and taken the pleasure I have from this amazing game, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Owens made his Scarlets debut in 2006 and went on to make 274 appearances for the region, his sole professional squad.

After receiving his first cap in 2011, he competed in three World Cups before being ruled out of a fourth in France 2023 due to a back ailment.

He overcame back and neck ailments to play in last year’s Six Nations and was involved in contract negotiations with the Welsh Rugby Union, which avoided a strike.

His final match was the Scarlets’ Challenge Cup defeat to Glasgow in April 2023.

“Ken Owens has not only been a wonderful player for the Scarlets, Wales and Lions over the course of a stellar career but he has also been a consummate role model for youngsters up and down the country developing their love for the game,” Abi Tierney, chief executive of the World Rugby Union, said.

“The fact that he has captained all of those senior sides in succession demonstrates his talismanic leadership abilities. We will all miss his presence on the field, and the changing rooms, team rooms, and press conferences will not be the same without him.”

 

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