6 March 2012, 10:35am
Bath Rugby Flanker and Former England Captain Lewis Moody MBE has retired from rugby union with immediate effect.
Renowned for his fearless style of play, Lewis Moody has been putting his body on the line for club and country for 16 years. Making his first appearance for Leicester Tigers in 1996, Lewis went on to play at the club for 14 years, before moving to Bath in the summer of 2010.
With 71 caps for his country and 3 for the British and Irish Lions, he is one of the very few players to have consistently excelled in world rugby for the duration of his career. As the most capped England flanker he is also one of the most decorated, with an incredible 7 Premiership titles, 2 Heineken Cup winners medals, 1 LV= Cup winners medal, 2 Six Nations Championship winners medals and 1 World Cup winners medal.
Lewis spoke today ahead of announcing his retirement, ''It is with great sadness that I have to announce my immediate retirement from all forms of rugby. 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.''
"I would like to thank all of the coaches that I have worked with during my career, from Bracknell minis to the British and Irish Lions; they have all left their mark on me as a player.''
"It goes without saying how much I value the fans who have supported me so loyally over the years, it has been one of life's singular pleasures to have played this game in front of you.''
"Finally, I would not have achieved what I have in this sport without the continued support of my family and friends during my entire career. Rugby has been my life for such a long time now, it is scary to imagine what it will be like without it, but I look forward to relishing the new opportunities and adventures that will come my way.''
Since stepping down from international rugby in November 2011, Lewis spoke of his passion to channel his efforts in to succeeding with Bath Rugby. Sir Ian McGeechan, Director of Rugby at Bath, has added;
"Lewis has been a fantastic servant to the game, and I am disappointed I will not now have another opportunity to work with him on the training pitch and watch him deliver in a Bath jersey. He has had a tremendous career and is a player I have greatly admired. He is always fully committed and is everything any coach would want in a Back Row forward.''
"He is someone whose opinion I trust and value, and he leaves a fantastic legacy from his time with Leicester, England and the Lions, which will long be remembered.''
Nick Blofeld, Chief Executive of Bath Rugby, has spoken of Lewis's influence at the club both on and off of the field.
"Lewis has had a very positive impact throughout his time with Bath. Part of the reason we signed him was due to the experience and attitude he would bring off the field as well as on it, and he has played a big role in helping us to strengthen the culture, attitude and playing environment at the Club. We are of course sad to see him retire, but wish him all the best with his future."
Moments most memorable to fans will include his match winning charge down in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final and leading England in June 2010 when they famously beat Australia on their home turf.
Martin Johnson who played alongside Lewis for Leicester and England before coaching him, said:
"When I look back at playing with Lewis it always brings a smile to my face – it was never dull. He was one of the most committed guys I ever played with and had a complete disregard for his own physical wellbeing. It's sad that he has had to retire but he should be remembered for a great career and someone who never gave less than 100 percent for his club and country."