Ex-Wales winger Chris Czekaj has announced his retirement from playing at the age of 34. The nine-cap back suffered a badly broken leg versus Australia in 2007 but he battled back, going on to spend most of his career with Cardiff Blues, his local club.
Taking to Twitter to announce that he is calling it quits, Czekaj said: “After 15 years as a player, it’s time to end my professional career. I’m hugely thankful for the game and what it has given me, and I feel extremely privileged to be able to play for so long and at the level I have.
“I have had the honour to represent my country on nine occasions, the first being in 2005 vs Canada and scoring on my debut. This is the fondest memory of my career.
“However, the proudest moment for me was four years later. After being told I may never play again through injury, I returned to international rugby in 2009 vs Canada, scoring on the same field in the same corner as in 2005.
“During my time in the game I’ve not only been lucky enough to visit some amazing places around the world but I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a foreign country. I have learnt a new language and experienced a new culture and this is all thanks to rugby.
Thank you Rugby ?? pic.twitter.com/5tL0841yzZ
— chris czeks (@czeksyboy) May 22, 2020
“I’ve learnt how to react to setbacks such as selection and underperformance with humility, drive and a work ethic to put it right. I have learnt I am able to come back from the brink of retiring with a sheer refusal to believe I wouldn’t play again.”
Aside from playing for Cardiff, whom he represented 143 times between 2005 and 2014 and won the 2010 Challenge Cup with, Czekaj also had spells with Colomiers, Valence Agen, Bedford Blues and Merthyr. He now hopes to develop a coaching career.
“I’m hugely excited about developing further as a coach, passing on my experiences and teaching others the values that I’ve learned from rugby,” he added.
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