Lewsey calls time on England

World Cup winner to focus on club rugby

Last Updated: 10/12/08 6:29pm

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Lewsey: Scored a try on his final appearance in the 2007 World Cup semi-final

Lewsey: Scored a try on his final appearance in the 2007 World Cup semi-final

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Wasps back Josh Lewsey has announced that he has retired from England rugby with immediate effect.

JOSH LEWSEY MBE Clubs: Bristol, London Wasps
Position: Wing/full back/centre
Born: 30.11.76, Bromley
Representative Honours: England U19 Colts, U21s, Sevens, A, England, British and Irish Lions
Caps: 55 (plus three for the Lions)
Points: 110 (22 tries)

"I spoke with Martin on the phone earlier this week and as he didn't consider me to be an integral part of his immediate team moving forward, I have decided that I would be better served committing myself entirely to my club, London Wasps. "
Josh Lewsey Quotes of the week

Lewsey was selected as part of England's 32-man elite squad by Martin Johnson - however the World Cup winner was overlooked for all the autumn internationals.

And Lewsey, who scored the crucial try in the World Cup semi-final against France in 2007, made the decision after speaking with Johnson about his future plans.

"It is with a huge fondness for the game that I love, and after consultation with Martin Johnson, the England team manager, I have decided to retire from representing my country on the rugby field," said Lewsey, who scored 22 tries for England.

"I spoke with Martin on the phone earlier this week and as he didn't consider me to be an integral part of his immediate team moving forward, I have decided that I would be better served committing myself entirely to my club, London Wasps.

"After 55 caps, many training sessions and a vast amount of laughter I'd like to thank all the coaches, medics and especially the players that have made my England career so memorable over the past ten years. Playing, but more importantly winning, for your country is the most special feeling one can achieve.

"My last game for England was the semi-final of the World Cup in Paris last year and, although I would have liked to have contributed since, scoring the game's only try was in hindsight a fitting moment to last wear a national jersey."

Johnson, who played alongside Lewsey in the 2003 World Cup triumph, admitted he was disappointed with the versatile back's decision but has praised his impact for England over the years.

Disappointed

He added: "Josh has spoken to me about his decision and while I'm disappointed I fully understand the reasons behind his decision to retire from international rugby and on behalf of the England squad I'd like to wish him every success with his continuing career with London Wasps.

"I know from first-hand experience what an asset Josh was to England over an international career that spanned 10 years, over 50 caps and two RWC's including the RWC 2003 final and it was a pleasure to play alongside him. "

England's loss will be Wasps' gain, with Lewsey now set to be available during the Six Nations period - a time where the club could lose a number of players to international duty.

And Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan is pleased to have Lewsey free to concentrate solely on the club.

McGeechan said: "Josh has been an outstanding player for England and is probably one of the most successful backs in English rugby for his achievements both with his club and country.

"A World Cup winner, his achievements on the international stage have provided him with an illustrious career and a wealth of experience which brings a great deal to the club.

"As a club we are delighted that Josh is able to focus his attentions solely on Wasps campaign. It is very important that we have a good focus, as we did last year, particularly when the internationals are away and to have that added experience, knowing that he is going to be here throughout the season is a bonus for us.

"He is one of the players who helps to deliver the kind of rugby we want to play, setting the right example, and his permanent presence will be of great benefit to the squad."

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