Wales wing Walker retires injured at 25

Eli Walker (Getty Images)
Eli Walker (Getty Images)

London - Wales wing Eli Walker announced his retirement at the age of just 25 on Friday after failing to recover fully from back surgery last year.

The Ospreys flyer made one Test appearance, against Ireland in a 2015 World Cup warm-up match, but injuries as much as competition from the likes of George North and Alex Cuthbert, prevented him from winning further Wales caps.

For the Ospreys, Walker scored 23 tries in 81 appearances and helped the Swansea-based regional side win the Pro12 or Celtic League title in 2012.

"It is an extremely difficult thing to do, acknowledging and making the decision that you have to retire from the game," said Walker in an Ospreys statement. "But it is absolutely the right thing for me to do.

"I've worked hard to try to get back to where I was pre-surgery, but unfortunately, I recognise that I am not going to be able to do so.

"I'm thankful for the support I've had from my family and from the Ospreys during what has been a tough period for me personally."

Walker, renowned for his impressive speed, added: "I am immensely proud of everything I've achieved on the rugby pitch, be that playing for Swansea, representing my home region, the Ospreys, or gaining my full Wales cap, and without the support of my mother, in particular, I wouldn't have able to achieve anything like I have in my career.

"There are so many fantastic memories that will live with me forever. The sport has allowed me to meet some fantastic people who are now firm friends, and experience some great places. I consider myself fortunate."

Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward said: "Everyone is saddened by this news.

"Eli is someone who came through the development system and was identified at a young age as having the potential to become a senior player for the region and for Wales.

"It is a real shame for Eli, and for the Ospreys, that injury has cut short his career before even reaching what should be his prime.

"However, he should be proud of what he has done in the black shirt and how he has represented himself, his family and the region."

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