Lewis Moody retires from rugby union through injury

Former England captain and Bath flanker Lewis Moody has retired from rugby union with a shoulder injury.

Moody, who ended his international career after the 2011 World Cup, was hurt against Worcester on 25 November and had surgery 12 days later.

"Totally gutted I have had to take the decision to retire from all forms of rugby," Moody wrote on his Twitter page.  "I will truly miss it."

The 33-year-old added: "Unfortunately, it was one injury too far."

Moody lifted two Heineken Cups and seven Premiership titles during a 14 year-spell with Leicester, before joining Bath in March 2010.

He was capped 71 times by England, helping them win the 2003 World Cup, and played in two Tests on the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

But Moody's career was plagued by injuries, with knee ligament, foot, eye socket and shoulder problems among those to sideline him for varying lengths of time.

"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," he said in a statement  .

Analysis

Lewis Moody has had an extraordinary career, throwing his body into the firing line with a staggering commitment over the last 16 years. He's won virtually everything there is to win, and he's done it all with humility and a smile. He was as fearless a flanker as you will ever see, and his bravery earned him the nickname "Mad Dog". At his best, Moody was world class, and it was his gathering of the final line-out on that famous night in Sydney in 2003, that allowed England to set up Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal. Lewis Moody was a true rugby warrior in love with his sport.

"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."

In an interview with BBC Points West, Moody admitted that the latest setback left him with no choice but to call time on his career.

"I had a shoulder injury and I've just been unable to come back from it," he explained. "That [retiring] was the simple decision really.

"The difficulty is that your mind will never not want to play. Unfortunately the body just seems to give up around you.

"It's something I've always truly loved since the age of five and when you love something that much it's difficult to give it up.

"I've loved my career, it's been phenomenal. At the start if someone had said to me you will achieve all the things I have achieved, I would probably have laughed at them."

Moody led his country at the 2011 World Cup, with his final Test appearance coming in the quarter-final defeat by France in Auckland.

Former England coach Martin Johnson, who played alongside Moody 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 as someone who never gave less than 100% for his club and country."

Highlights - Moody captains England to win v Australia

Bath director of rugby Ian McGeechan commented: "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."

Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld added: "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."