Neck injury forces Northampton's Ryan Powell to retire

Ryan Powell
Powell's last Saints appearance was in an 18-16 loss to Gloucester in February

Northampton Saints scrum-half Ryan Powell has been forced to retire through injury.

The 31-year-old former Wales international, who joined Saints from Worcester last year, has not played since suffering a neck injury in March.

"Obviously I'm gutted and devastated that my career has finished this way," said the former Cardiff Blues man.

"No player wants to retire, whether it's part of a natural process or because of injury."

He added: "It's been a massive shock and it probably won't sink in until I'm watching the players running out and I'm not a part of it.

"It's been great at the club and I've enjoyed myself. I played a lot more rugby than I was expecting to play, and enjoyed being part of a squad that was part of the Heineken Cup final. All in all it's been a great part of my career.

"Playing for my country was my major career highlight, it's every young kid's dream and I was lucky enough to play for Wales, which was a massive achievement."

Powell has three Wales caps, making his debut off the bench against South Africa in June 2002.

A combination of injuries and international call-ups saw him make 19 appearances for Saints last season.

"Ryan brought plenty of experience and enthusiasm to Franklin's Gardens last summer and we have enjoyed having him at the club," added director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"He always gave 100% and played in some of our biggest wins of the season in the Heineken Cup and Premiership.

"Injury is always something that can happen in rugby, but it does not make it any less disappointing that this has forced Ryan to retire from playing."

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