Former England hooker Rob Webber has announced that he will retire from professional rugby at the end of this season.

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The 33-year-old Sale forward won 16 England caps, which included three appearances in the 2015 World Cup. He started his professional career at Leeds, then went on to play for Wasps and Bath before joining his current club in 2016.

“The time has come for me to hang up my playing boots at the end of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season,” Webber said in a statement released by Sale. “It has been an incredible journey over the last 16 years.

“The memories I have made will stay with me always, but I now feel it is time to pursue other opportunities within the game. My clubs – Leeds, Wasps, Bath and currently Sale Sharks – have all be been brilliant places to go to work every day.

“The opportunity to play for my country, tour the world and to be involved in a World Cup are career highlights and achievements I will cherish forever.”

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Sale rugby director Steve Diamond said: “It’s a shame to see Rob leave the club earlier than expected. I did everything I could to keep Rob at the club for the final year of his contract, but it was clear he had made his mind up. As a club, we wanted to support his decision to pursue other opportunities within the game.

“In my opinion, Rob has shown the best form of his career while at Sale, and we are unfortunate to be losing such an experienced player at the end of the season.

“I have no doubt that the skill-set he has shown both on and off the pitch at Sale, along with the experience he has in the modern game, will stand him in good stead as he looks to transfer into an off-field role.”

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– Press Association 

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