Scotland's Joe Ansbro forced to retire from rugby

Joe Ansbro

Scotland centre Joe Ansbro has been forced to retire from rugby following the neck break he suffered last summer.

The 27-year-old London Irish star sustained the injury while playing in a pre-season match in August.

Despite extensive rehabilitation, he has been advised on medical grounds to retire with immediate effect.

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Ansbro determined to play again

"Playing this great game at the highest level is a privilege and I will always look back on my career with fond memories," said Ansbro.

"I've been fortunate enough to play top-level rugby for both Northampton Saints and London Irish.

"To gain international recognition with Scotland has been an immense honour; victories over South Africa and Australia stand out.

Ansbro, who made 14 appearances during his time with London Irish and scored three tries, added: "Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and supporters of London Irish. I wish the club success in the future and look forward to watching the boys get off to a good start when September arrives.

"Thank you to everyone at Northampton Saints, the RPA and the wider rugby community for the support I received before and after my injury.

"Thank you also to all the supporters, players, coaches and staff at the SRU for making the responsibility of representing Scotland such an enjoyable experience.

"I'd especially like to thank [London Irish Head Physiotherapist] James Peckitt and [Scotland team doctor] James Robson for helping me through a difficult rehabilitation process. Finally, thank you to my family, friends and agent for their continuing support and positive influence."

Ansbro scored three tries in his 11 Scotland appearances.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend, who worked with Ansbro while attack coach with the national side, tweeted: "Sad to hear about Joe Ansbro's retirement. An excellent Test player - 100% committed, an intelligent defender and very quick. Top bloke too."

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith said Ansbro's retirement was "incredibly sad news" for the player and club.

"He has remained extremely committed to the club during his injury, and his presence around the squad has been a huge lift for all the players," Smith said.

"He is a very intelligent and articulate young man, and I have no doubt that he will be as committed to his next career as he has been to rugby.

"Everyone at the club wishes Joe all the best for the future."

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