Wasps veteran Richard Birkett forced to retire
Veteran Wasps lock Richard Birkett has been forced to retire from the game because of a neck injury.
Last Updated: 17/10/12 3:45pm
Birkett was involved in a collision during an A game against Saracens earlier this year and after a difficult recovery specialists have advised the 33-year-old to hang up his boots.
The forward spent his entire career - 14 years - at Wasps, making his debut in 1999 and he was an integral part of the team that won the Premiership finals in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008 and he was also part of the victorious Heineken Cup winning-team in 2004.
Birkett said: "After 14 years of rugby with London Wasps my body has unfortunately given up on me. However, I leave the game content in the fact that I was a part of an amazing era in Wasps history.
"Those memories will never leave me and I'm incredibly proud of what we achieved. I've made some fantastic friends along the way and I have enjoyed almost every minute."
Director of Rugby Dai Young said: "Since I came to the club last season, Richard has been an integral part of the squad. As a senior player he has been a leader both on and off of the field.
"In the modern game it is very rare that a player will stay with a club for their whole career but Birky has been a key component of this club for a 14 year period and he will be a loss to us.
"He formed a tremendous partnership with Simon Shaw throughout a very successful period for the club and although he didn't get the international recognition that others in that side did, he was a fundamental part of their success and will go down as a true Wasps great."