Wales star Josh Navidi forced to retire aged 32

Navidi has been capped 33 times for Wales but has been forced to call time on his career due to injury

Josh Navidi has been forced to retire (Image: © Huw Evans Picture Agency)

Wales and Cardiff Rugby star Josh Navidi has been forced to call time on his career due to injury.

The 32-year-old had been sidelined with a ‘neurological’ neck injury which he picked up in the final Test against the Springboks on the tour of South Africa last summer.

He has now decided to retire from the game with immediate effect.

Navidi has been capped 33 times for Wales and made two appearances for the British & Irish Lions on their 2021 tour of South Africa, replacing the injured Justin Tipuric in Warren Gatland’s squad. 

In a statement via his club Cardiff, Navidi said: “It is with great sadness but also an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my retirement from rugby.

“Although I knew this day would come eventually, I don’t think I was ever really able to prepare myself for how difficult it would be to put into words just how much of an impact the game has had on my life.

“I am enormously grateful to everyone at Cardiff Rugby. I started my career with the club in 2009, and over those 14 years, there have been so many memories made that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“Running out on to the Arms Park field with my team-mates to our incredible supporters never grew old, and for this reason the club has always held a special place in my heart.

“From winning the Challenge Cup in Bilbao in 2018, to winning against Toulon in a packed-out Arms Park, every time I put on that blue shirt it was an honour, and I’d like to thank the staff over the years, our supporters, and the boys who I got to take the field with every week for making these moments possible.

“I will certainly miss playing but I am very proud of everything I have achieved in my career, whether with Cardiff, Wales or the British and Irish Lions, and I’m now looking forward to the next chapter beyond rugby.”

Director of Rugby Dai Young added: “It is incredibly disappointing when any player is forced to retire but Josh can be enormously proud of his career and everything he has contributed whether in a blue and black or red jersey.

“He has been one of the best back-row forwards in the world over the past number of years and while his playing time for Cardiff has been limited in recent years, what he has contributed over more than a decade is huge.

“He was one of the club’s best and most consistent performers season after season and to make 184 first team appearances and win 33 caps in such an abrasive position is no mean feat.

“Everyone at Cardiff sends Josh our very best wishes for the future and look forward to seeing him as a supporter in the future.”

Navidi made his international debut against Japan in June 2013. He made 184 appearances for Cardiff, clinching the European Challenge Cup and winning three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam, with Wales. 

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