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Wales and Lions great Jamie Roberts announces his retirement

By Josh Raisey
Jamie Roberts (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 35.

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The 2009 and 2013 Lions tourist has enjoyed a glittering career that has seen him play for Cardiff and the Dragons in Wales, Harlequins and Bath in England, Racing 92 in France, the Stormers in South Africa and most recently the Waratahs in Australia, as well as representing Cambridge University. However, he wrote on social media today that “the time feels right” to draw the curtain on his 15-year professional career.

After making his Wales debut in 2008 at the age of 21, Roberts went on to make his country’s No.12 jersey his own for the next decade, being at the heart of some of Wales’ greatest moments of the modern era before earning the last of his 97 Test caps in 2017. Of those 97 caps, three were for the Lions, where he was named the 2009 Player of the Series against South Africa.

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“The plan, go to Cape Town, seal the series” – South Africa rugby back themselves for the final test
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“The plan, go to Cape Town, seal the series” – South Africa rugby back themselves for the final test

Roberts emphasised on his post that he has “no doubt” he will remain involved in rugby, and said that will be in a broadcasting capacity for the time being, a role that he has been moving into in recent years.

He wrote on social media: “The time feels right. As I reach the end of my professional playing career, I’m retiring with an immense sense of gratitude for what the sport has provided me. Having given everything in body and mind, the game of Rugby has given me more than I could have ever dreamt of in return. Our wonderful sport has impacted my life far beyond the white lines of the playing field; I guess its values have defined my attitude and approach to life and certainly shaped who I am today.

“Representing my country was always a childhood dream. I’m fortunate it became reality. It meant the world to me and forever will. I’ll also never forget the immense pride of captaining my country. Singing the anthem had the same impact whether at home in Cardiff, away at some of the most iconic stadiums in World Rugby, or during two Rugby World Cups. I’ll remember fondly reaching the pinnacle of representative rugby and touring twice with the British & Irish Lions. The joys and despair I experienced on both tours amounted to nothing short of experiences of a lifetime. The rugby experience with the Barbarians, culminating in victory against the All blacks also ranks high amongst my favorite weeks in Rugby.

“My experiences over the course of 350 professional matches have indeed taken me to immeasurable highs as well as desperate lows, eliciting every emotion possible along the way. Above all, the game has provided a sense of belonging, friendship and healthy competition. There’s no doubt I’ll stay with the sport past retirement. Whilst I figure everything out, that’ll be predominantly in a broadcasting capacity.

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“I’ll miss the changing room, the matchday buzz and the aches and pains. I guess most of all I’ll miss the lads. I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside and against many of the modern day greats; not just great players but great men. I’ll forever appreciate being able to rub shoulders with some brilliant guys that I’ve learnt a huge amount from. To all those I’ve been fortunate to share the field with, it was a pleasure. For a short while, we have the best job in the world. Never forget it.

“I finish with some incredible memories and a heart full. I’m proud to finish knowing I found my calling at number 12. That battle on the advantage line defined me on and off the field.”

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