A chronic shoulder condition has forced South Sydney Rabbitohs and England star Sam Burgess to retire from rugby league, effective immediately.
Burgess made the announcement on Wednesday, bringing a premature end to the 30-year-old’s playing days due to his troublesome left shoulder problem.
The England international, who also represented his country in rugby union, led the Rabbitohs to NRL glory in 2014 as he won the Clive Churchill Medal for his efforts.
Burgess, who struggled in 2019, played 182 matches for the Rabbitohs after arriving in 2010, having made 88 appearances for Super League outfit Bradford Bulls.
Sam Burgess has announced his retirement from playing Rugby League, effective immediately.
— South Sydney Rabbitohs (@SSFCRABBITOHS) October 30, 2019
“To all South Sydney members and fans, fans of the game and even the supporters that aren’t my biggest fans, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making my career what it was in the NRL,” Burgess – an Aviva Premiership runner-up with Bath in 2014-15 – wrote in an emotional message via the Rabbitohs.
“I have loved absolutely every minute; the highs, the lows; the Grand Final; coming home; my injuries; my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride.
“This decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially. I am no longer able to be myself day in, day out on the training field and consequently the playing field.
“I’d like to encourage everyone to smile as they read this. Let’s all remember what we have done together as a club over the past decade rather than what’s not to be in the coming years.
“We have some amazing young men at the club and it’s in safe hands. I will stay close and help grow the club continually in any way I can.”
Rabbitohs head coach Wayne Bennett added: “He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney.
“His leadership and capabilities on the field match the man he is off it. I thought it was a real blow to the game when he left to play Rugby Union but I’m glad he saw the light and came back.
“I’m glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.
“He’ll be a South Sydney man forever and he should be very proud of everything he has achieved over the past 14 years.”