Wales and Scarlets lock Jake Ball will retire from international rugby at the end of the season to be with his family in Australia.
The 29-year-old’s wife, Christie, returned to Australia for the birth of their fourth child earlier this year.
Ball, who has not yet been able to meet baby Max, has decided to end his Test career and a nine-year spell with Pro14 side the Scarlets next July so he can be reunited with his family.
“It has been a difficult decision to make but one I have made for the family,” said Ball.
“My wife was expecting our fourth child and with Covid around and players having to be in bubbles and everything, we made the decision that she and the kids should go home to have some family help and support around her.
“Max was born last month; there have been Zoom calls and things, but I haven’t seen him yet and it has been difficult. As the season goes on, it would be pretty tough of me to ask Christie to come back here away from her family again.
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) December 29, 2020
“It has been a fantastic nine seasons I have been here. I love the Scarlets and playing with Wales has been unbelievable and something I will never forget.
“It has been a massive honour to represent my country, but at the end of the day I made a huge sacrifice in staying behind for a year without my family. I have four kids now and I won’t have seen them for close on a year.”
Ball joined the Scarlets from Western Force in 2012 and has gone on to win 49 caps for Wales.