Heart abnormality forces Mears into early retirement
England's celebratory mood after the hard-won Six Nations victory in Dublin was tempered yesterday when one of the most durable red-rose forwards of recent years, the Bath hooker Lee Mears, announced his retirement at 33 on medical grounds. Mears was advised by doctors to call it a day after routine cardiac screening revealed a heart abnormality that might have worsened under the demands of professional rugby.
"This is not how I saw it ending and it will be a tough period, but the memories I have and the friends I have made over the years will be a huge support," said the Devonian, who made almost 300 appearances for the West Country club, won 42 caps for England, played Test rugby for the Lions in South Africa four years ago and was among the more accomplished front-row technicians of the era – a scrupulously fair-minded player blessed with considerable footballing intelligence and a sound temperament, as well as unusual physical strength.
Gary Gold, the former Springbok coach at Bath since last summer, described the front-rower as a "legend", adding: "He will be missed, but the only thing that matters is he's healthy. If that means he stops playing, that's the way it has to be."
London Welsh, meanwhile, have armed themselves for their fight against Premiership relegation by signing the immensely powerful Argentina back-five forward Julio Farias Cabello. The man from the up-country badlands of Tucuman is hardly a spring chicken at 34, but as a late developer, he has a good deal of rugby left in him.
"We have eight games to go and need as much squad depth as possible," said coach Lyn Jones. "Julio will add a great deal to our final push."
Arsenal Champions League fixtures: Gunners to open with Dinamo Zagreb trip, plus daunting back-to-back Bayern Munich ties
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs