Injury forces Leicester Tigers' Aaron Mauger to retire
Leicester Tigers centre Aaron Mauger has been forced to retire from the game.
The 29-year-old was due to leave the club at the end of the season to return to New Zealand in a bid to regain his place in the All Blacks squad for the 2011 World Cup on home soil.
However, a persistent back injury which has been affecting his game for 12 months has proved too much.
Mauger has seen several specialists and doctors in a bid to cure what is essentially a nerve problem.
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He said: "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from the game.
"After many different specialist treatments throughout the UK and Germany, along with an intense rehab plan with the 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 during 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. It means I will have to let go of my desire to compete for an All Black jersey again."