Sport : Rugby Union

Mears retires from rugby

11th February 2013, 04:03pm

Bet with SkyBet  Aviva Premiership... Click here to bet.

Former England hooker Lee Mears has been forced to retire with immediate effect due to a heart condition, his club Bath have announced.

An abnormality known to occur in some athletes was discovered during a cardiac screening completed by the 33-year-old Bath front row, who announced his international retirement last year.

"There is a significant potential risk of developing further complications if Lee continues to perform the prolonged strenuous exercises required to be an elite rugby player," read a statement issued by Bath.

"He has therefore been advised by a specialist to retire from professional rugby."

Mears won 42 caps for England in a seven-year international career that began against Samoa in 2005 and ended as a replacement on last summer's tour to South Africa.

The Devonian participated in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups and was also capped in the opening Test of the Lions' 2009 series against the Springboks.

Bath have been his only club since his professional career began in 1998, making 268 appearances for the Recreation Ground outfit.

"This is not how I saw it ending but I feel enormously proud to have played for Bath so many times," Mears said.

"This will be a tough period, but the memories I have and the friends I have made over the years will be of huge support. Thank you to the club and to the supporters, I've loved every minute."

Bath head coach Gary Gold stressed that Mears was left with no option but to retire.

"Lee is a legend, pure and simple. His retirement will be felt by all of us at Bath and also by the supporters who have cheered him on over the years," Gold said.

"The only thing that matters is to be healthy and if that means he stops playing, then that's the way it has to be.

"He will be missed, but we will always welcome him back with open arms. This is his club, and it always will be. We send him off with real affection and gratitude."

Within the last six years there have been several instances in British and Irish rugby of heart-related conditions causing retirement, all among the front row.

The career of Wales and Scarlets prop Rhys Thomas ended after he underwent heart surgery in January 2012, while his international team-mate and hooker Lloyd Burns retired in April of the same year with a neck injury and damaged aorta.

Ireland prop Simon Best was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat during the 2007 World Cup and was forced to hang up his boots a year later.

Munster prop Marcus Horan, however, was able to continue playing despite undergoing minor heart surgery in 2009.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Bet with SkyBet  Aviva Premiership... Click here to bet.

Rugby Union Videos

    Australia v Argentina reaction

    Australia v Argentina reaction

    13-September-2014

    Reaction from Australia's hard-fought 32-25 win over Argentina in a pulsating Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast.

    De Villiers reaches 100 test caps

    De Villiers reaches 100 test caps

    13-September-2014

    South African captain Jean de Villiers reached a century of international caps but could not stop the Springboks losing to New Zealand 14-10 in the Rugby Championship.

    Hansen pleased with All Blacks fortitude

    Hansen pleased with All Blacks fortitude

    13-September-2014

    New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was pleased with his team's character as they came from behind to beat South Africa 14-10 in Wellington.

    Super Skills - Rugby

    Super Skills - Rugby

    13-September-2014

    Woemn's rugby world cup winners, Maggie Alphonsi, Heather Fisher and Nolli Waterman demonstrate some of their super skills and attempt to break a world record.

    Sky Bet

    Facebook Favourites