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Welsh Rugby
Iestyn Thomas to hang up boots
ESPNscrum Staff
April 26, 2012
Iestyn Thomas in action against Aironi earlier this season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Iestyn Thomas
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Teams: Scarlets | Wales

Scarlets prop Iestyn Thomas has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The vastly experienced front-rower has appeared 214 times for the Scarlets and has accrued 33 caps for Wales in the process. But following a neck injury back in February, Thomas has been advised to retire from the game. The prop admits that it has been a tough decision to make but he has had some fond memories in the Scarlets' shirt.

"I am grateful for all the great opportunities and experiences I have had in my rugby career and there's a long list of brilliant memories," Thomas said. "Playing for my country against New Zealand in 2003 will stay with me always, that was a great game. And then there's the win away in Toulouse in 2006 on my 30th birthday and winning the Celtic League title in 2003/4.

"I won't miss the training and conditioning on a wet Tuesday afternoon as much though but the thrill of the game and competitiveness of match day has always given me the challenge to keep going despite the battering the body takes.

"That spirit in Scarlets rugby is still really burning - the young boys coming through have been an inspiration and energised us as senior players. It's been great to be part of and watch some of these new generation of Scarlets push forward this season both in a Scarlets jersey and in the international set-up."

Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies paid tribute to the prop and highlighted the importance he had played in helping the next generation of props through the ranks. Davies said: "Iestyn has been immense for us - and to have such a experienced and trusted professional in your ranks with so many younger players is something that as a coaching set-up you really appreciate and rely on."

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