Wales and Scarlets rugby legend Ken Owens has announced his retirement from the sport, marking the conclusion of an extraordinary career.

The 37-year-old hooker, affectionately known as 'The Sheriff', has been a stalwart for both club and country, earning admiration for his skill, leadership, and unwavering commitment on the field. Following an injury-ravaged couple of seasons, he retires on 91 Wales caps and five Tests for the British and Irish Lions across two tours.

Owens' journey to rugby stardom began in his hometown of Carmarthen, coming up through the age grades with Carmarthen Athletic. He honed his craft with the Scarlets youth academy, also studying and playing for UWIC (now Cardiff Met) before making his senior debut for the Scarlets' senior side in 2006.

Over the best part of two decades, he would go on to make over 250 appearances for the Scarlets, becoming one of the club's most beloved and influential figures. Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel has previously hailed Owens as a "true ambassador" for the club.

On the international stage, Owens' contributions to Welsh rugby have been nothing short of exceptional. He made his debut for Wales in 2011, and has played a pivotal role in Wales' successes in the Guinness Six Nations Championship, including Grand Slam triumphs in 2012 and 2019, as well as their rise to number one in the world in the latter year.

"It might not be the dream ending but my career has been more than I could have dreamt of," said Owens of today's announcement. "Had I written the script there would have been one more game for Wales, for the Scarlets and ultimately Carmarthen Athletic. A chance to sign off and thank everyone involved. It was not to be.

"Whilst part of me wishes I could have done more, I am well aware that if you had told me as a kid I would be fortunate enough to experience what I have, to have worked with and played with the people I have and taken the pleasure I have from this amazing game, I wouldn't have believed you.

Warren Gatland, his head coach for both Wales and the Lions, has called Owens a "warrior" and "consummate professional".

As Owens bids farewell to the rugby field, his leadership, passion, and unwavering dedication to the Welsh cause will be sorely missed. His legacy, however, will endure as a testament to this son of Carmarthen's extraordinary character.