Sean Long announces his retirement at the age of 34

Former Great Britain scrum-half Sean Long has announced his retirement at the age of 34.

The Hull half-back, born in Wigan, began his career with the Warriors and after a short spell at Widnes spent 12 successful years with St Helens.

However, injuries have restricted him to just 21 appearances since his move to the KC Stadium last season.

"I've had a great career. I will start to look back at what I have achieved with a smile," Long said on Twitter.

Long won a host of honours with Saints, featuring in four title-winning sides and also winning the Challenge Cup on three occasions.

He was also named Man of Steel in 2000 and kicked drop goals to win both the World Club Challenge in 2001 and the Challenge Cup the following year.

His glittering career, however, was also overshadowed by controversy.

Long served a three-month ban after an investigation into betting irregularities in 2004 and prematurely quit the 2006 Tri-Nations series when on Great Britain duty, retiring from international rugby league the following year after winning 14 caps.

He joined Hull in a two-year deal in 2009, but suffered a shoulder problem this season soon after returning to action from a broken thumb.

Long, who is now expected to take up a coaching role, told BBC Sport: "I've been thinking about it for the past few weeks, and I think now is the right time.

"I'm a bit nervous, and still a bit shocked, but I'm excited as well about the new challenges ahead, which is the next part of my life.

"I've had a great career. I don't want to play one more year and have people say 'who's this old chap busted up and can't play? He should have retired'. I'd hate to get that off fans because I've had a pretty good career, and hopefully people remember that bit.

"It would kill me not to be part of a team. I still feel I was playing well before the injuries, but it's just the injuries that have kept me out.

"When the body won't take it anymore then it's time to knock it on the head. So now's the right time to progress and move on to the next chapter of my life."

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