Former England captain Chris Robshaw has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 36.
Flanker Robshaw captained England to four consecutive second-place finishes in the Six Nations before winning the 2016 Grand Slam under the leadership of Dylan Hartley.
Robshaw won 66 caps for his country, 43 as captain, and made over 300 appearances during 15 years at Premiership side Harlequins before departing for the MLR’s San Diego Legion in 2020, where he finishes his career having dislocated his shoulder three times.
He said: “After 18 years of professional rugby and a career I could only have dreamt of, I am officially announcing my retirement from the great game.
“Following three dislocated shoulders in quick succession my body has told me to blow the final whistle.
“No words can do justice to how fortunate and privileged I am to have enjoyed a career in the sport I am most passionate about.”
Robshaw made his England debut against Argentina in 2009 before being given the captaincy on just his second cap in the 2012 Six Nations, having missed out on Martin Johnson’s World Cup squad the previous year.
He was a regular in the England side until 2018, even after losing the captaincy following the group-stage exit at the home World Cup in 2015.
Robshaw described leading his country as “the greatest honour of his life” and thanked teammates, friends, family and fans for their support over the years.
“I remember my mum taking me to my first mini rugby game – sparking the fire that lead me to later play for and captain Harlequins and England,” he said in a statement shared online.
“In doing so, I have been afforded opportunities beyond anything I could have imagined in terms of education, travel and experience.
“Playing for and captaining England has been the greatest honour of my life and there is no comparable feeling to representing and leading your country.
“It was a responsibility I approached with respect, optimism and determination and I hope in the coming years I can use my experience and knowledge gained to support other players on their journeys.
“Playing at the top level comes with a lot of pressure and with that comes many highs and lows. My advice is to surround yourself with strong and kind people, something I was lucky to have.
“I want to thank my teammates for pushing me to be better, for laughing with me and for crying with me. I want to thank each coach for their commitment to improving me as a player and a person, and each physio for getting me back onto the pitch each week.
“To my mum and family – thank you for supporting me from my first game as a boy to my last as a man. To my wife, Camilla, you have been my rock throughout most of my professional career – thank you for everything you have done to make it possible.
“Nothing brings me greater joy than knowing my son, Wilding, was able to see his dad play a game or two and I look forward to taking him down to The Stoop, Twickenham or to San Diego to join the fans.
“To those fans, my final and loudest thank you. Over the years it has been you that has sat through wind, rain and snow to inspire me to dig deeper, to do better. I will miss so much about rugby but playing in front of you and for you, will be what I miss most.
“Nothing comes close to the overriding sense of love, acceptance and support from the fans when you represent your club or your country.”