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Tom Rees forced to retire

12 March 2012

  • Tom Rees forced to retire after failing to recover from knee injury
  • Former Wasps captain won 15 England caps
Tom Rees watches the action during a game for London Wasps in 2010

Photo: Getty Images

London Wasps and former England flanker Tom Rees has been forced to retire from rugby after failing to recover from a knee injury.

Rees suffered the injury during a pre-season game last summer and, despite undergoing intensive rehab, has been advised by doctors to stop playing with immediate effect.

The 27-year-old was part of the 2007 World Cup squad and went on to win 15 caps for England after making his international debut in 2007.

“I’m gutted that I have been forced to retire at a time when I feel I could have contributed so much more to my club,” Rees said in a statement. “Whilst I will always think what might have been, I will also look back on my career and what I achieved with a great deal of pride.

“Over the last nine years I have been privileged to take part in my hobby for a living, and I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. During that time I have met a lot of great people who have played a huge part in my career and to list them here would take far too long, so I would just like to say thank you to all the supporters, coaches, staff, opponents, teammates and everyone else who have made my life in rugby such a wonderful experience.

“I would especially like to thank everyone at London Wasps, they have given me such tremendous support at all times through my career but particularly of late, and I am sorry that won't get to repay them for that. Finally, I would like to thank my friends and family for their constant support through everything I have done.”

A product of the London Wasps Academy, Rees joined the club in 2003 bursting onto the scene in the 2004/05 season as a talented young back-row forward and his performances impressed enough to earn him a senior contract. He was part of the 2007 Heineken Cup winning team and in 2008 he ended the season with a try in the Premiership final win against Leicester Tigers.

London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said the news was “incredibly said” for both Rees and for the club.

He added: “His attitude and commitment to the Club remained hugely constant even when he was out injured and I know his presence will be missed around the squad.

Tom Rees in action for England against New Zealand in 2008

Photo: Getty Images

“Reesy though is a very resilient and intelligent man and I have no doubt whatever he does with his career he will make a success of it. On behalf of everyone at Wasps I want to wish him all the best in the future. We will be here to support him in any way we can.”

Rees made his last appearance for England in the 2009 Six Nations but his international career was hindered by a number of injuries late in his career.

But England’s current interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster paid tribute to Rees’ attitude and added: “We all recognise Tom’s qualities as a player and a person and it’s going to be a shame that he will never be able to display his talent on the world stage again.

“However, he has tremendous attributes as an individual and a leader. I am sure he will go on to become very successful in his future career and all the players and management here in the England camp wish him well on that journey.”