Paul James; Fellow Wales front row Richard Hibbard hails 'top quality' retired prop

Paul James and Richard Hibbard
Paul James and Richard Hibbard celebrate victory over England which clinched the 2013 Six Nations title

Dragons hooker Richard Hibbard has paid tribute to Wales and Ospreys prop Paul James following his retirement from rugby.

James, 36, has retired having won 66 caps and had two spells with Ospreys either side of a stint at Bath.

Hibbard played alongside James, who has been unable to recover from a shoulder problem, at both regional and international level.

"You will miss players like him on the pitch," Hibbard said.

"The word legend gets chucked about quite a bit but, as a player and as a bloke, he is top quality.

"He will be hard to replace, someone who does the job he does. The experience he has of the environment and what he adds to it are second to none."

James cited shoulder problems as the reason behind his retirement.

Paul James and Richard Hibbard
Paul James and Richard Hibbard were team-mates at Ospreys between 2004 and 2012

The Neath-born front row, who has not played a competitive game in almost a year, was unable to overcome the injury despite undergoing two operations.

James helped Wales to Grand Slam success in 2012, as well as the Six Nations title the following year.

His former Ospreys colleagues will be in action against Hibbard's Dragons this Sunday.

For Hibbard, the game means a reunion with the region he represented for 10 years.

"I played against them last year with Gloucester, but only in one of the cups," Hibbard added.

"This is the first time really properly. It's going to be fun - it's going to be good to see some old faces.

"They are going to be coming down full of confidence after their result (against Scarlets). A few of their players are finding some form.

"But it's our patch and it's going to be our game.

"We have had a great performance against the Blues and now we want to go forward against the Ospreys."

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