Scotland international Joe Ansbro announces retirement following neck break

The London Irish centre broke his neck during a pre-season friendly against Munster last August

Scotland international Joe Ansbro has announced his retirement from rugby.

The 27-year-old London Irish centre broke his neck during a pre-season friendly against Munster last August, and despite undergoing extensive rehabilitation he has been advised to quit on medical grounds.

Ansbro, who joined Irish from their Aviva Premiership rivals Northampton, won 11 caps and helped Scotland claim notable victories over South Africa and Australia.

"It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from professional rugby," he said.

"I have been fortunate enough to play top-level rugby for both Northampton Saints and London Irish.

"To gain international recognition with Scotland has been an immense honour, and victories over South Africa and Australia stand out. Playing this great game at the highest level is a privilege, and I will always look back on my career with fond memories.

"Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and supporters of London Irish; thank you to everyone at Northampton Saints, the RPA (Rugby Players' Association) and the wider rugby community for the support I received before and after my injury.

"Thank you also to all the supporters, players, coaches and staff at the SRU (Scottish Rugby Union) for making the responsibility of representing Scotland such an enjoyable experience.

"I would especially like to thank James Peckitt and Doctor James Robson for helping me through a difficult rehabilitation process. Finally, thank you to my family, friends and agent for their continuing support and positive influence."

Irish rugby director Brian Smith said Ansbro's retirement was "incredibly sad news" for the player and club.

"He has remained extremely committed to the club during his injury, and his presence around the squad has been a huge lift for all the players," Smith said.

"He is a very intelligent and articulate young man, and I have no doubt that he will be as committed to his next career as he has been to rugby.

"Everyone at the club wishes Joe all the best for the future."

PA

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