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Mauger announces rugby retirement

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Leicester Tigers vice-captain Aaron Mauger has today announced his retirement from rugby due to a back injury.

After playing 45 Tests for New Zealand, Mauger joined Leicester Tigers straight from the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has made 53 appearances for the club, scoring eight tries.

The 29-year-old said: “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that, due to ongoing complications with a back injury sustained 12 months ago, I announce my retirement from the game today.

“After many different specialist treatments in the UK and Germany, along with an intense rehab plan with the club medical staff at Leicester Tigers, I have been unable to regain full fitness and participate in full team training and games without re-injuring myself. So unfortunately retiring now seems the last but only realistic option available.

“I would like to thank the Club and medical staff for their help over the last year and for their continued treatment and plan to rehabilitate me back to a normal level of function before my family and I depart home to New Zealand in June.

“I am gutted to be finishing my playing career many years before I had planned. This scenario also means I will have to let go of my aspirations of returning to play in New Zealand and my desire to compete for an All Black jersey again.

“I can now only wish every team that I have played for over my career all the best and thank all of the players and coaches over the years who have helped me to achieve and to enjoy the game as much as I have.

“I have many special memories and they are ones that I will cherish forever. The game has given me so much and I am very grateful to rugby for the opportunities and the experiences it has provided for me to learn and grow.

“I plan to stay involved in the game and look forward to some new challenges that a different role might provide for me.

“Finally I’d like to publicly thank my whole family for their support throughout my career.”

Tigers head coach Richard Cockerill added: “It is regrettable when any playing career comes to a close, and Aaron has been a real asset to this club on and off the field in his time with us.

“He has played at the highest levels, but he is also a real team player and has had valuable input over the last couple of seasons.

“We wish him and his family well for the future when they return to New Zealand.”