Ospreys and Wales centre, Andrew Bishop, has today announced his retirement from rugby due to injury.
Bishop has been left with no option but to concede defeat in his battle against a lumbar disc problem that has required surgery on three separate occasions, making the difficult decision for the sake of his long-term health following extensive consultation with experts locally and further afield in the wider sports medicine community.
The 30-year old hangs up his boots after 209 games in an Ospreys shirt, putting him second in the all-time appearance list for the region, one of only two players to have broken the 200 cap landmark along with Duncan Jones who retired earlier this year.
He confirmed his decision to his teammates at Llandarcy this week prior to the formal announcement.
“It’s a very sad day for me personally but it is the right decision to make” said Bishop.
“All I’ve known for the last 10 or 11 years is rugby and the Ospreys, so life will be very different for me now that I’m no longer going to be training every day and working towards match day on the weekend.
“Deep down I’ve known that this was coming for some time. After the second op I was told that if it happened again I would most likely need to retire. When I had my third surgery earlier this year it was kind of inevitable. I’m grateful to the Ospreys management for not pressuring me and giving me the time I needed to come to terms with the implications. I’ve taken a bit of time to get my head around it but I realise there’s more to life than rugby. I’ve got a young family to look after and that will be my focus now.
“While I owe thanks to everybody I’ve worked with at the Ospreys, players and coaches, a special thanks needs to go to Chris Towers and the medical team for all the support they’ve given me over the last few years. It seems they hardly ever saw me for the first eight or nine years and then they never saw the back of me, but I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done to get me back up and running. It’s a shame that this was one time too far.
“I’m incredibly fortunate to have had the career I’ve had, with so many special memories. I’ve made some great friends and I’m proud of what we have achieved at the Ospreys during my time. This is my region and now I’m not playing I’ll be a supporter. I’ve got my season tickets and I’ll still be a regular at the Liberty.”
Having made his debut for the Ospreys against Borders as a 19-year old back in February 2005, Bishop established himself as an almost constant fixture in the Ospreys team, playing a big part in four league wins and touching down at Twickenham to help the Ospreys secure the EDF Energy Cup with victory over Leicester Tigers in 2008.
He played in both the PRO12 Final wins over Leinster in Dublin, in 2010 and 2012 and, having become the ninth player to reach 100 Ospreys caps when he led the team out against Leinster at the Liberty in September 2009, he made his 200th appearance on the opening day of the 2014/15 season, against Treviso at the Liberty,
A model of consistency throughout his career, Bishop shares the record for the most Ospreys appearances in a season with 29, a total he achieved on two separate occasions, 2006/07 and 2011/12, both years that saw the Ospreys win the league. He scored 10 tries for the Ospreys, with his final appearance coming off the bench in a 31-20 win over Ulster at the Liberty Stadium last December.
In addition, Bishop was capped at all age-grade levels by Wales before winning his first senior cap on the South Africa tour of 2008. In total, he played 16 times for his country, his final appearance coming against the Barbarians in 2012.