Scotland's Danielli retires

2012-05-10 17:56

Edinburgh - Scotland wing Simon Danielli announced Thursday he'd been forced to retire from professional rugby union because of a back injury.

The 32-year-old, who finished his career with European Cup finalists Ulster, won 32 caps for his country, scoring eight tries in a nine-year span as a Test player from 2003 to 2011.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson, who knew Danielli when they were both at English side Bath, said: "I first encountered Simon as a young winger at Bath more than ten years ago and it speaks volumes for his dedication and determination that he frequently forced his way into international contention.

"At his peak Simon was always one of the fittest players whether for club or country and, at his best, was a proven try scorer and powerful runner, as we saw during last year's Rugby World Cup. I wish him well in his future and thank him for his service to Scottish rugby.

Danielli said the extent of his back problem meant he had to retire now or risk severe complications in later life.

"Having been advised that I am no longer able to achieve the level of fitness required to play professional rugby, it is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from rugby," Danielli said.

"This last year has been incredibly frustrating in that my back has not allowed me to train or play anywhere near a frequency or an intensity necessary in a professional game and because of the pain, deterioration and related injuries it's causing I have to think about later life beyond rugby.

"Having said that I feel privileged to have been playing for over a decade and have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional rugby player, particularly my last five years at Ulster and the huge honour of representing my country.

"Indeed representing Scotland has been the pinnacle of my career and I have so many great memories and friendships from these days, from all the amazing match day atmospheres at Murrayfield and the intensity that international rugby brings, to the fantastic tours I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my time representing Scotland, to all the players, coaches, and everyone behind the scenes that have helped make the experience so proud and enjoyable."

Danielli joined Ulster at the start of the 2007/08 season from now defunct Scottish professional side the Borders.

He subsequently scored 26 tries in 78 appearances for the province, having played in two winning Varsity match teams while a student at Oxford University.

As he bowed out, Danielli had some encouraging words for a Scotland side who finished bottom of the table in this season's Six Nations after losing all five of their matches.

"I wish the boys the very best of luck for the future and am sure that Scottish fortunes will soon change on the international stage with all the talent that is coming through."