Mark Lambert, who made his 250th Harlequins appearance earlier this season during the Club’s home victory over league leaders Exeter Chiefs, will continue his role as Chairman of the Rugby Players Association (RPA) and as an ambassador for the Harlequins Foundation.
The longest-serving Harlequin in the professional era, proud owner of the 15th longest Premiership Rugby career to date and the record holder for Premiership Cup appearances, Lambert joined Harlequins ahead of the 2004/05 Premiership season, going on to win silverware on three successive seasons with the Club, lifting the 2010/11 Amlin Challenge Cup, 2011/12 Aviva Premiership and 2012/13 LV Cup trophies.
The twice Club centurion was capped by England at U19 and U21 level before going on to play for the England Saxons side during the 2009 Churchill Cup.
On confirmation of his retirement from rugby, Lambert said: “I played my first game in a Quins shirt in 2002. I’ve had a picture of that moment on my wall for years. I have never been more nervous in my life than I was before my starting debut against Gloucester in 2004. I have never felt worse in my life than the day I was told my career was over in 2005. That is what playing for this club has meant to me.
“I have been on borrowed time in the game since I was 20. I have made it to 35. What facing retirement at a young age gave me was an appreciation that this had to end one day. As a result, I have done my best to make the most of the experiences that have come my way.
“I’ve worn the shirt hundreds of times and every time, even the games on a Monday night that I didn’t want to play, when I pulled it on I looked at the badge and realised it was a privilege.
“I want to thank the supporters of Quins. You have always been passionate, kind, and friendly to me. I hope I have been the same in return. I want to thank my friends and family for all your love and support. My wonderful wife, children, sister, and aunt of course, but mainly my mum and dad. You have been on every step of this journey with me and I will forever be grateful for that.
“Finally, I want to thank my teammates over the years. They are the reason I’ve played for so long. I have a lifetime of memories on and off the field.
“There is something incredibly special about the shared experiences rugby gives you. It’s nice to win, but really, it’s all about those shared moments. Cherish that and the results will come. I have been living that for 17 years. I am a lucky man but I am really going to miss it.
“If anyone wants a reminisce come and find me at the bar. Thanks, everyone.”
British & Irish Lions predicted 2021 starting XV according to the bookies
Fullback: LIAM WILLIAMS (Wales 4/7)
Other contenders: Stuart Hogg (Scotland 4/6), Jordan Larmour (Ireland EVS), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales 5/1), George Furbank (England 7/2)
Left wing: JONNY MAY (England 1/25)
Other contenders: Jacob Stockdale (Ireland 1/3), Adam Radwan (England 40/1), Jack Nowell (England 11/4), Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales 13/8)
Outside-centre: JONATHAN DAVIES (Wales 1/3)
Other contenders: Henry Slade (England 5/6), Garry Ringshow (Ireland 4/6), Jonathan Joseph (England 13/8), Chris Harris (Scotland 20/1), Huw Jones (Scotland 6/1)
Inside-centre: MANU TUILAGI (England 1/3)
Other contenders: Robbie Henshaw (Ireland 5/6), Hadleigh Parkes (Wales 5/4), Sam Johnson (Scotland 9/2)
Right wing: JOSH ADAMS (Wales 1/18)
Other contenders: Anthony Watson (England 4/6), George North (Wales 2/1), Elliot Daly (England 10/11), Joe Cokanasiga (England 3/1), Keith Earls (Ireland 9/2)