Andy Powell: 'I have been battling depression,' says ex-Wales cap

Andy Powell
Andy Powell played for Wales 23 times

Former Wales international Andy Powell says he is battling depression.

Merthyr number eight Powell announced his retirement on 10 October and cited a knee injury, but has now explained that mental health issues were the main reason.

The 35-year-old started his career with Newport and had spells with Leicester, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Wasps and Newport Gwent Dragons.

"The last year has been difficult," Powell told Sky Sports.

"Merthyr gave a statement out the other day saying it was my knee, well in fact it wasn't my knee. I have been suffering with depression. I've been dealing with it for around 18 months, it's been tough," he added.

Powell, who also toured with the British and Irish Lions, was speaking two days after World Mental Health Day.

Andy Powell talks to Scrum V about his battle with depression

"I made the decision and it's a lot of weight off my shoulders which I feel a lot better for."

In 2010, Powell was charged with drink driving after allegedly taking and driving a golf buggy on the M4 motorway.

He has played professionally for more than 17 years and says the sport has left a physical and mental toll.

"I started playing professionally when I was 17 and I'm 35 now," he said. "That's a long time in the game and your body takes a lot of beating. It was breaking me mentally as well.

"I'm quite a strong character, I've got a lot of pride so it's hard for me to come out and speak about it.

"I'm getting through it. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, which is great."