Experienced Cardiff Blues lock Deiniol Jones has been forced to retire from all rugby due to recurring shoulder injuries.
Jones joined the Blues in 2004 from the Celtic Warriors having made his international debut against Samoa in November 2000. He has been one of the most consistent players for the Blues, being the first player to reach 100 games for the region and going on to make 175 appearances.
Jones explained: "I had an operation on both shoulders in November because they were getting too painful for me to continue playing and there was quite a bit of damage in both of them.
"After rehab, one shoulder has improved pretty well but the other one is at the stage where there is no hope of getting back to the strength and stability needed to play rugby.
"So, the advice I have been given by the surgeons is that I have to retire from the game. It has been a massive blow for me and it's a hard pill to swallow at the moment," he added.
Jones said that watching the Blues develop in his time with the team had been a highlight of his eight year career.
"If I take a step back and look at what has been achieved in the eight years I have been here at the Blues, then I am really proud to have been part of the development and progress that has been made.
"When I look back to when I joined it was totally different. We were training on a school pitch, we didn't have our own gym and the organisation wasn't really in place. Now we have the facilities and all the necessary departments in place, which are fantastic. I am privileged to have been a small part of that," he said.
Jones said that he is not interested in getting involved in coaching, and is planning to focus on his business plans.
He said: "I have been a professional rugby player now for 16 years and in my opinion, being a rugby coach requires twice the commitment of being a player.
"To be a top coach, you have to put in an incredible amount of commitment to be successful. To maintain that intensity after being a player is something that I don't think is healthy to do immediately. I think it's healthier to take a step back and do something else in life," added Jones.
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