Ben Woods is forced to call time on Leicester Tigers career
Leicester Tigers flanker Ben Woods has been forced to retire from the game after persistent problems from a broken wrist.
The 30-year-old has finally called time on a two-year battle with a broken scaphoid bone, which has not healed well enough for him to continue playing.
Woods was injured 23 months ago and, while he has played games in the interim period in a bid to regain fitness, the problem never fully cleared up. He made his final first-team appearance for Leicester against former club Newcastle on February 4.
"I did it against Saracens in October 2010 and I can't even remember the incident when it happened," he said.
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"It was difficult to diagnose at first. I had a week off and then two or three weeks playing again.
"I learned to deal with playing in a lot of pain and had an operation where they put a pin in to stabilise the joint.
"It seemed like it was healing fine and I started off last season playing.
"I knew with that kind of injury that it would take a while for me to get it completely right. I always thought I would be back, but I've had to give in to it eventually.
"There was always that battle between getting back to playing or resting it for another couple of months.
"I was out with a neck problem in February but there were more complications with my wrist, so they took the pin out.
"It had got worse, if anything, and the pain was getting too much – it seemed like it was only going to get worse.
"I wanted to keep playing the game I love for as long as possible and I didn't want to let anyone at the club down. I kept going for all of the right reasons, but even buttoning a shirt can be difficult now.
"It is a very difficult decision to stop playing, but I have enjoyed playing the game professionally and Leicester Tigers is a great club.
"The coaching staff here showed a lot of faith in me and gave me the opportunity to win trophies, which is what every player wants to do.
"I would like to thank everyone at Tigers for their support in my time at the club."
Woods, an England Saxons international who joined Tigers from Newcastle in the summer of 2008, was a member of the club's Premiership title-winning squads of 2009 and 2010, and a try-scorer in the Heineken Cup final against Leinster in 2009. He made 70 appearances in four seasons.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said Woods would be missed.
"Ben has been a valuable member of the squad at Tigers for the last four seasons," he said.
"He enjoyed some of his best form in a Tigers shirt and started Premiership and European finals in his time here.
"It is unfortunate for any player when injury dictates the time of their retirement.
"We wish Ben well for the future and thank him for his service to the club."
Read Inside Rugby on Friday to find out what Woods' plans are for the future.