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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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Ex-England full-back Ben Foden has retired with immediate effect

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ex-England full-back Ben Foden has confirmed his retirement from playing at the age of 36. The 34-time Test cap between 2009 and 2013 has been in America in recent years playing for Rugby United New York since leaving Northampton in 2018. However, he wasn’t rostered for this year’s MLR season and has now taken to Instagram to admit that his playing days are finally over.

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Writing in a social media post that contained five pictures from his career, two in action with Northampton and one each from Sale, New York and England, Foden said: “So after lots of deliberation I’ve decided to finally hang up my playing boots from professional rugby.

“From a young ‘Pop Idol’ starting at @salesharks to 10 years at @northamptonsaints to finally finishing my career with @rugbyunitedny it’s been an 18-year career filled with every emotion possible.

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Foden: Stateside | A RugbyPass Originals Documentary
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Foden: Stateside | A RugbyPass Originals Documentary

“Rugby has given me so much through my lifetime and given me enough memories to keep me smiling for the rest of my days. It’s taken me all over the world and I feel privileged to say it has given me friendships and a family I can always depend on.

“To everyone who has been part of this journey with me, thank you for everything! Rugby really is a wonderful game and has certainly enriched my life. I promise to always, (wherever possible) give back to the game I loved playing so much. Excited for the next chapter in my life and what’s around the corner. Finally thank you Dad for making this incredible journey possible. Foden 15 out ✌️🙌👊 @englandrugby #retired #rugby #saints #sharks #rooster #England.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ben Foden (@ben_foden)

Foden, who featured in a warmly received 2019 RugbyPass documentary on his move to American rugby, started 14 times in last year’s MLR campaign for Rugby United New York. They had offered him a deal for the 2022 season but he turned down. “They asked me to play again this year and I declined,” he said in January.

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“I wanted a break from rugby to assess where I am. I want to transition from playing into coaching… There are lots of opportunities in America as it’s such a big country and the sport is only just taking off. Over here (in England), it’s saturated, so it’s just about finding what works financially.”

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