Ward-Smith forced to retire
August 29, 2011
Ward-Smith's retirement will come as a big blow for Wasps © Getty Images
London Wasps No.8 Dan Ward-Smith has retired from rugby with immediate effect after failing to recover from a back injury.
The 33-year-old back-row picked up the injury in April and after seeking medical advice was advised to hang up his boots. The former Bristol No.8 has impressed in the black and gold of Wasps having made 48 appearances during his two years at Adams Park.
Ward-Smith never earned a full England cap but lined up in the red rose jersey in four uncapped games on their tour of the southern hemisphere in 2010, crossing the line in the 28-28 draw with the Australian Barbarians in the process. After making his debut for the England Saxons in 2006, Ward-Smith looked to be on the verge of a Test cap but a knee injury ruled him out of 2007 World Cup contention.
And Ward-Smith admits retiring from rugby was a horrible decision to make. "Having to give up the game you love and your career at the same time is beyond devastating," he said. "It hasn't really sunk in yet and the emotion is still quite raw. With the injury I have I don't have any choice but to stop playing which for me is bitterly disappointing.
"I want to thank everyone who has had an input in my career at any point, all of my coaches and the players I have played with, the supporters who have cheered me on and especially my wife Jamie who has been hugely supportive throughout a tough few months."
London Wasps chief executive Chris Thomas added: "Everyone at the club is desperately disappointed for Dan, who has been a superb professional and a great guy to have around. He had a hugely impressive first season for us with 29 appearances and four tries and in his time with Wasps he quickly became renowned for his professional attitude on and off the pitch.
"Dan was one of the hardest trainers the club has ever had and we wish him all the very best in the future and thank him for the effort he has made in the black and gold shirt."
Ward-Smith is planning on moving back to Bristol where he will pursue qualifications in coaching with the ultimate aim of moving into a strength and conditioning role and added: "I know I will miss the training element of rugby almost as much as I will miss playing so I hope to gain the necessary qualifications that will allow me to work in a rugby environment in the future."
The news will come as a huge blow to Wasps boss Dai Young's preparations for the new season following the news that flanker Tom Rees will miss a large part of the season. However, he confirmed the signing of three new back-rowers last week in the guise of Matt Everard, James Harris and Argentinian flanker Genaro Fessia.
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