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International

Harlequin & Former Wallaby announces retirement.

#BigKev

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Harlequins Co-Captain, former Wallabies and Queensland Reds Captain James Horwill has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the current Gallagher Premiership season.

Horwill, a stalwart of the Australian rugby scene, joined the London Club at the start of the 2015/16 season. With his wealth of experience and natural leadership, Horwill was named Club captain after two seasons.

On announcing his retirement, Horwill said

“I have given this great game everything I have, and I feel I can no longer give what is needed to play at this elite level.

“Rugby has been a big part of my life for many years; never in my wildest dreams would I have envisaged the incredible journey it has taken me on.

“I’ve had the privilege and honour to not only play, but captain my State, Country and Club, Harlequins, on a number of occasions over my 14-year career.

“Winning the Super Rugby title at the Queensland Reds and being asked to captain my Country are just some of the moments I will look back and cherish for a lifetime.

“I want to thank all the coaches and staff I’ve worked with over my career; you have all made an impact and shaped me into the player and person I am today.

“Special thanks must go to the physios, doctors and surgeons, who have put me back together. We probably spent more time together than we would have liked, but without your expertise and continued care, I wouldn’t have been able to play for as long.

“To the fans all over the world, who have supported me throughout my career, thank you. My job wouldn’t have existed without you; you are what makes this game so special. I will never be able to replicate the feeling I get from running out to a full stadium of support. It has been my honour to represent you and a role I will forever miss.

“Finally, to all the players I have had the pleasure to play with (and against), you are why I have loved my career so much. We have made some unforgettable memories and I know I have friends for life.

“I’m completely committed to leading Harlequins to success this season, and then I’ll turn my attention to the next chapter of my life.”

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Paul Gustard, Harlequins Head of Rugby added:

“James is a true warrior of our great game; the ultimate professional and someone you always want on your side.

“It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work alongside him at Harlequins. His resilience and character have made him the role model he is today and will continue to be long after his retirement. Every week he puts his body on the line and stands up to be counted alongside his teammates; he is a very popular member of the squad, whom we will all miss.

“From everyone at Harlequins we would like to wish him and his young family all the very best in the future and he will always be welcome at his second home, The Stoop.”

A modern-day champion, Horwill made his professional debut in 2006 for the Queensland Reds and was quickly called up to the Wallabies side the following season.

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Despite his youth, Horwill was handed the Reds captaincy in 2008 and the second-row led the franchise to its first professional title, beating the Crusaders in the 2011 Super 15 final.

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Later that season Horwill was named captain of the Wallabies ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. He would go on to lead the side out on 16 occasions across his 62-match international career, including against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

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Horwill joined Harlequins in 2015 and was named club Captain ahead of the 2017/18 season. In the same season, Horwill made his 50th appearance for the Club in the win over Saracens at The Stoop.

Horwill’s final game at The Stoop will be against Leicester on Friday 3rd May.

International

World Cup Winning Springbok to retire.

Hanging up the boots.

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Worcester Warriors’ World Cup-winning centre Wynand Olivier has announced that he will retire from playing at the end of the season.

Olivier’s glittering career includes 38 Springboks caps, a World Cup winners’ medal as part of Jake White’s triumphant squad in France in 2007 and Super Rugby and Currie Cup success with Bulls in South Africa.

Olivier, 35, joined Warriors from French Top 14 club Montpellier in October 2015 and made his 50th appearance against Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup at Allianz Park last November.

“I have had a long career and made some great memories. have been very privileged to play the game I love for so long,” Olivier said.

“It will be undoubtedly be an emotional experience leaving the game but I’m excited about what the future holds and to follow my ambitions outside of rugby.”

As a World Cup-winner Olivier is a member of one of rugby’s most exclusive clubs but winning trophies is only one part of his career.

“I think people define success in different ways. I’m proud of what I have achieved. However, it is about looking forward and maintaining the ambition and drive that I have learnt from rugby into my transition,” he said.

“I have made a lot of friends along the way and these relationships have only made my career more enjoyable.”

A serious hamstring injury restricted Olivier’s availability last season but he returned to play a pivotal role in the memorable European Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais in Paris in October.

He helped Warriors reach the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup this season and has also helped to develop the next generation of Warriors players with the Cavaliers in recent Premiership Rugby Shield matches.

“It has been great to see youngsters come through the academy and see them reaching their potential. That has been very satisfying,” Olivier said.

“Obviously I had that injury last year where I tore the hamstring off the bone. Injuries are part of the rugby experience but it has allowed me to pass on my experience to some of the younger athletes and I have enjoyed working with them.”

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons, a former South Africa assistant coach. Said: “Wynand has had a terrific career. He is a superb rugby player, a wonderful bloke and a great team man.

“He is the consummate professional. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with him. We wish Wynand all the very best for the future.”

Article from Worcester Warriors

He joins Rory Best in announcing his retirement this week. Best announced that he will retire from the game post Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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6 Nations

Rory Best to retire.

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Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best has confirmed that he will retire from professional rugby when his current contract expires after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Best will bow out with a hugely impressive list of honours and will go down as a legend of the modern game, having spent 15 seasons at the top level.

Rory began his rugby development at Banbridge RFC, with whom he is still involved, while he also played at Portadown College and Belfast Harlequins RFC on route to the professional game.

He made his competitive debut for Ulster in 2004 and has amassed 219 appearances to date, scoring 23 tries. He was a key member of the squad which won the Celtic League title in 2005/06.

Best is Ulster’s most-capped international with 116 appearances (10 tries) and has helped Ireland win the Six Nations Championship on four occasions, including two Grand Slam successes (one as captain).

Best’s leadership of Ireland is record-breaking; he captained Ireland to its first ever win against New Zealand in 2016 and has steered the country to second in the world rankings.

He was a member of the British & Irish Lions squad for the 2013 and 2017 tours to Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Best was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to rugby.

“It is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement from Ulster Rugby as of the end of this season,” said Best.

“This feels like the right time for me to go out on my terms, a luxury for which I feel very privileged.

“I am very excited for the end of the season with Ulster Rugby and for the upcoming World Cup with Ireland, both of which I hope to finish with a massive high, playing at the top of my game.

“In my 15 years at this brilliant club, I have been lucky to have met, played alongside, been coached by and supported by many great people, and I would like to thank every individual for the time they have invested in me since 2004.

“I grew up supporting Ulster Rugby, have been fortunate to play and captain Ulster Rugby, and now look forward to supporting Ulster Rugby in the future with my family.”

Paying tribute to Best, Ulster’s Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham said:

“No player representing Ulster Rugby has had a more profound impact in the professional era than Rory.

“When Rory enters the room, everyone waits for his words. On the training pitch, he demands high standards at all times. During a match, players turn to Rory for leadership and direction. He has been our all-encompassing talismanic figure for more than a decade.

“Rory’s ability to not only stay at the top, but also fight his way through adversity, shows the strength of character he possesses.

“The ever-present support of the Best family on the side-lines, in particular Jodie, Ben, Penny and Richie, encapsulates Rory as the ultimate family man. We know that they will continue to follow Ulster Rugby for many years to come.

“Rory will justifiably go down as one of the greatest legends of Ulster and Irish Rugby.”

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6 Nations

Richards Claims 2003 World Cup Winners Cheated, Woodward Denies

Dean Richards has made some serious accusations to the RFU.

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Former Harlequins director of rugby and ‘Bloodgate’ scandal Dean Richards told the RFU that England’s 2003 World Cup winners cheated in a report.

He claims that his Harlequins side were not the only team using fake injuries to win games and that the World Cup winners were doing so too.

The document, which was uncovered by a documentary on talkSPORT revealed what Richards had said.

“The use of fake blood, cutting players, re-opening wounds, feigning injury in the front row, jabbing players with anaesthetic all occur regularly throughout the game,” he said.

When asked about giving examples by former RFU head of discipline Jeff Blackett he accused the English team.

“RWC 2003. England used faked blood,” he said.

Richards, who was banned from rugby for three years in 2009 for his part in the scandal in which players used fake blood to be taken off as blood substitutions has been shut down by 2003 coach Clive Woodward.

“This is simply not true. I am not sure why Dean raised this. I have never been involved in anything like this. It is ridiculous,” he said.

He also said that the claim was “absolute nonsense”.

It appears as though the RFU have nothing to worry about this time around as it seems like Richards is trying to stir the pot once more in the rugby world.

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