STATEMENT: Jamie Roberts retires with immediate effect - Ruck

STATEMENT: Jamie Roberts retires with immediate effect

Lions and Wales legend Jamie Roberts has confirmed his retirement from the game with immediate effect.

“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.

“It’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to thanking those who’ve influenced and helped my career. There are too many to mention, but in time, I hope I get the opportunity to share a glass and thank you all individually.

“To my parents Jackie and Norman; taking me to my first rugby session as a six year old lit a fire in me that would eventually inspire me to achieve in the sport. Your support has been unwavering and for that I’m forever grateful. Throughout my youth, my school teachers and age grade coaches were a huge inspiration. Thank you for being my mentors and your commitment to nurturing my talent.

“Much hard work is done beyond the players on the field; from coaches to kitmen, referees to touch judges, S&C to medical staff, chefs to analysts, boardroom staff to groundstaff. There are countless others. So many wonderful people and characters across all the environments I’ve been fortunate to be involved in. I thank you all.

“To those in the media, thanks for the praise as well as the critique. As a professional sportsman, the scrutiny that accompanies life in the public eye can bring significant pressure at times. I thank you all for being respectful through good and difficult times.

“To the most important people in our sport, the supporters. I can’t thank you enough for the love and kindness down the years. From beers in the bar after a game, a selfie in the street, or a conversation in the supermarket, the relationship with the supporters is one I have cherished my whole career and I hope will continue well past my playing days.

“I value dearly the opportunity the sport has given me to travel the world and expand my horizons beyond Wales, whether through touring or moving club. Taking those strides to challenge myself outside my comfort zone, although daunting, provided the pressures I craved.

“Those pressures to challenge myself beyond the game also permeated to the lecture theatres and hospital wards. A sincere thanks to the staff at Cardiff University, UWIC, Loughborough University and lastly Cambridge University, where achieving a Blue ranks among my proudest moments. Thanks for your support and understanding while I pursued success on and off the field.

“I’m extremely grateful my club career has spanned five countries and allowed me to experience several tight-knit club families, as well as enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in some of the worlds best cities outside of Wales; namely Paris, London, Bath, Cape Town and Sydney. The playing experiences at each club were unique in their own way and I’m delighted that each environment provided opportunity to learn, improve and challenge myself; from my first game for Cardiff until my last for the Waratahs 16 years later.

“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 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 favourite weeks in rugby.

“My experiences in the game 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 will be predominantly in a broadcasting capacity.

“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. Time to spend some quality time with Nicole and our two wonderful children Tom and Elodie. Signing off from (across) the gainline. JR (Doc).”

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