Rugby Union Premiership news: Dan Ward-Smith retires

Rugby union Premiership forward Dan Ward-Smith has retired from professional rugby due to medical advice, following a back injury. The 33-year *9 old London Wasps number eight suffered a lumbar spinal injury while playing against Bath in April and hasn’t played since.

Speaking about his decision to retire, Ward-Smith said: “With the injury I have I don't have any choice but to stop playing, which for me is bitterly disappointing. He explained the decision to retire wasn’t arrived at easy: "Having to give up the game you love and your career at the same time is beyond devastating. It hasn't really sunk in yet and the emotion is still quite raw.”

Wade-Smith, better known as "mutant" amongst his peers thanked his fans and friends alike for their continued support throughout his professional career: “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."

Career profile

Dan Ward-Smith joined premiership side Bristol from Plymouth Albion for the 2005-2006 campaign and immediately made a huge impact in his first season.

Playing position number eight, the massive 1.93M, 115 Kg, New Zealand-born forward was a pivotal driving force that helped ensure Bristol survived top-flight rugby that season.

In his first season at Bristol, the “Mutant” was selected to play for England“A”; and he made his maiden debut for the English national team against Ireland “A.”

He was called up to the 30-man England training squad for the Autumn Internationals in his second season at Bristol. However, a dislocated patella he sustained at training forced him to miss out on a place in the 2007 England World Cup squad.

After a promising start to the 2007/08 premiership seasons with Bristol, Dan Wade-Smith broke his hand which forced him to miss out on selection for the 2008 Six Nations squad.

Wade-Smith signed a 2-year deal with London Wasps March 24, 2009; and on July 7, 2009 he was selected for the England Saxons squad. Later he was selected for the 2010 tour to the southern hemisphere.

He made 20 appearances for Wasps, but suffered a lumbar spinal injury while playing against Bath in April, 2011.

Wade-Smith subsequently announced his retirement from ruby in August 2011.

While announcing his retirement, Wade-Smith revealed he plans to move back to Bristol where he intends to pursue qualifications in coaching.

Known to fans as "Massive," Dan was a superb professional on and off the pitch.

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