Former Wales captain Ken Owens announces his retirement with immediate effect - Ruck

Former Wales captain Ken Owens announces his retirement with immediate effect

Former Wales captain Ken Owens has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

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The Scarlets player, affectionately known as “The Sheriff”, is Wales’ most capped hooker. 

During an illustrious career, he represented his club more than 250 times, as well as playing for the British and Irish Lions.

Speaking about his decision, Ken said: “Reluctantly, I am announcing my retirement from rugby. Not playing has been challenging, but the time is right to follow medical advice and hang up my boots.

“Had I written the script there would have been one more game for Wales, for the Scarlets and ultimately Carmarthen Athletic. A chance to sign off and thank everyone involved. It was not to be. It might not be the dream ending but my career has been more than I could have dreamt of.

“Whilst part of me wishes I could have done more, I am well aware that if you had told me as a kid I would be fortunate enough to experience what I have, to have worked with and played with the people I have and taken the pleasure I have from this amazing game, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Commenting on his journey to the international stage, Ken added: “Across the clubs of Wales there are countless volunteers who, like my parents at the Athletic, give their time, energy and commitment to this game.

“When you are lucky enough to play for Wales, you never lose sight of the fact that these are the people who put you in the shirt. The thousands of people who make up the community game in Wales all play their part. I hope I did them proud.”

Six Nations Sack Race Odds:

#6. Andy Farrell (Ireland) – 15/1

Andy joined the Irish coaching set up in 2016 as Assistant Coach. He was named as Head Coach to succeed Joe Schmidt after the 2019 Rugby World Cup/

Andy was assistant coach with England from 2011 to 2015 as well as defence coach for the 2013 Series-winning British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Prior to joining the England set-up, he coached Aviva Premiership side Saracens. A dual code player, he played rugby league for Wigan (370 caps), England (11 caps) and Great Britain (34 caps) before switching to union and joining Saracens.

Farrell won eight caps for England, including three appearances at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland team to play New Zealand

#5. Gonzalo Quesada (Italy) – 12/1

Italy’s rugby scene saw a major shakeup when Gonzalo Quesada was appointed head coach of the national team, succeeding Kieran Crowley from January 1, 2024.

Their resurgence was evident when, under Quesada’s guidance, they clinched a historic victory against Scotland in the 2024 Six Nations Championship, marking their first home win in 11 years and their first tournament victory since 2022. The momentum continued as they triumphed over Wales in a nail-biting match at the Millennium Stadium.

Although they finished fifth in the tournament standings, Italy’s performance was hailed as a significant achievement, marking their best showing since 2013 with multiple wins and avoiding the bottom of the table for the first time since 2015.