Wales and Ospreys back rower James King has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect. Dogged by a shoulder injury, he has taken the decision to retire on medical advice at the age of 30. 

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Capped eleven times by Wales, he made his Ospreys debut in 2009 and is sixth on the all-time appearance list for the franchise, playing on 203 occasions and scoring seven tries.

“When trying to come back from the shoulder injury I sustained last season, I was still getting a lot of pain and just knew something just wasn’t right with it,” explained King on the Ospreys website. 

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Alun Wyn Jones and Wayne Pivac tee up the 2021 Wales Six Nations campaign

“Further scans have now gone on to show that the operation has failed and that my shoulder has not healed enough to continue playing rugby. I’m therefore announcing my retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect.”

Born in Wodonga, Australia, King played for Wales U18s and U20s and for Aberavon before graduating to the Ospreys first-team squad and going on to make his Wales Test debut in 2013 versus Japan.  

He added: “Rugby has given so much to me and I’m truly grateful for all of it. I have travelled all over the world, met some incredible people along the way and had experiences that will stay with me for a lifetime. I have been at the Ospreys for my whole professional career and the fans have been nothing but supportive even through tougher times.

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“I would have liked to have thanked everybody who has helped me on this journey individually, but I’d probably run out of pages… and that’s just the rugby community. Never will you find a group of people where everyone is so forthcoming to help you, enabling you to be the best version of yourself. So to everybody who has helped me along the way, ‘Thank you’.

“While this might be the end of my playing days it’s just the start of something new. Although it’s not how I would have wanted to finish, I’m genuinely excited to get out there and find out what the next part of my journey is.”

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