FORMER England captain and World Cup winner Lewis Moody has admitted his “great sadness” after accepting defeat in his battle with injury and retiring from the game.
The 33-year-old, who called time on his 71-cap international career in October, had been striving to recover from a December shoulder operation.
British and Irish Lion Moody won seven Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups in a 14-year spell at Leicester before joining Bath in 2010.
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce my immediate retirement from all forms of rugby,” the famously fearless flanker, nicknamed “Mad Dog”, said in a statement.
“I have been very privileged to have played in some incredible teams and with some phenomenal players. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the medics and physios who have put me back together time and time again to enable me to continue to play this wonderful sport of ours.”
Moody played a key role in England’s finest hour, gathering the line-out that allowed fly-half Jonny Wilkinson to kick the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final.
Eight years later he led his country at the same tournament, this time in New Zealand, but the ending was sourer, with England eliminated in the quarter-finals and the squad’s image tainted by indiscipline.
In between Moody suffered a litany of injuries in the line of duty, to his Achilles, ankle, hip, foot, knee ligament, eye socket and shoulder.