Wales prop and two-time Six Nations winner Paul James has announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 36.
James confirmed he is hanging up his boots on Boxing Day, almost a full 12 months since the last of his 232 games for Welsh region the Ospreys.
James made 232 appearances for the Ospreys – he is second in the club’s all-time list behind Alun Wyn Jones – as well as winning 66 caps for his country.
The front row made his Wales debut against Romania in 2003, played at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and featured in the 2012 Grand Slam and 2013 Championship successes.
“I’m sad to say my time has come to an end,” commented James, who appeared in 27 Championship matches.
“After two shoulder ops and a lot of rehab, I’m afraid that my shoulder hasn’t recovered.
“I would just like to thank everyone who has supported me over my career and has helped me achieve everything I did, especially my wife, Louise, as she had to go through the highs and lows with me.
“I look back with no regret and loved every second of it. I will miss the banter with the boys but hope to get a new buzz out of dipping my toes into coaching.”
A shoulder injury sustained last New Year’s Eve in a win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade led to surgery in January and having failed to recover, James has opted to call time on his playing days.
In a long and storied career with the Ospreys, James helped the region to four Celtic League titles and an EDF Energy Cup win.
He left the Ospreys at the end of the 2011-12 season to join Bath but returned in 2015 and was awarded a testimonial year in 2018.