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Johnson pays tribute to 100 per cent Worsley

15 November 2011

  • England and Wasps flanker Joe Worsley forced to retire with neck injury
  • World Cup winner proud of his club and international career
Joe Worsley celebrates a try for England

Photo: Getty Images

London Wasps and England flanker Joe Worsley has retired immediately from the game due to a neck injury.

Worsley, who joined the Wasps academy in 1993 as a 16-year-old, has failed to recover from the injury which has prevented him from training in recent months, and he has made the tough decision to hang up his boots.

The 34-year-old said: "Last season I suffered an injury to my neck that has effectively ended my career. Since March I have been following medical and rehab advice but it didn't help, and restarting contact work during the England World Cup Camp made it obvious that I could not continue.

"My life as a rugby player started at Welwyn under 9s and finished in an England training session – I want to say thanks to everyone who helped me on that path. I'm proud of what I achieved and how I played the game."

Worsley made more than 300 appearances for Wasps in a career spanning almost two decades. He has won almost every accolade possible with the club, lifting the Heineken Cup twice, the Premiership four times and Powergen Cup on three occasions.

In a glittering international career he played in 78 Tests for England, appeared at three Rugby World Cups – lifting the trophy in 2003 – and played for the British and Irish Lions and the Barbarians. Worsley also received an MBE for his part in the 2003 Rugby World Cup victory.

Joe Worsley celebrates a try for England

Photo: Getty Images

England Team Manager Martin Johnson, his captain from 2003, said: "It’s sad for Joe that he has had to retire because of injury. He was a great team-mate and always gave 100 per cent for England and Wasps in winning every trophy available. On behalf of the England squad we wish him well and hope that he is just as successful after rugby."

London Wasps Owner Steve Hayes said: "Joe is a real legend at this club and we are all very sad to see his playing days come to an end. He has been a fantastic servant to Wasps and played a huge role in much of the club’s success.

"He also was a superb representative on the international stage, becoming a key figure for England and inspiring many budding young players with his tenacious back-row play. He will leave big boots to fill and we wish him all the very best as he moves on with the next stage of his life. I hope that we will still see him regularly around Adams Park and he knows he is welcome back here anytime."