A groin injury has forced Gareth Cooper to leave Cardiff Blues
Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper has parted company with the Cardiff Blues.
Cooper, who played a part in the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams, has been struggling with a groin injury and has been advised by doctors to take up to 12 months out of the game.
The 31-year-old made the switch from Gloucester to Cardiff in 2009 but has since only made 22 appearances for the region.
This season he has only featured in two games, with the problem then flaring up again.
"I've come to an amicable agreement with Cardiff Blues and would like to thank them for all their support over the years," said Cooper.
"It's been a frustrating couple of years for me and things haven't quite worked as I'd hoped. I don't think I've shown my full potential at the Blues due to the groin injury.
"I've been told by the medical team that I need a full rest from the game for between six to 12 months.
"The groin injury started to hurt in the summer of 2009 and it's got progressively worse. Throughout that period I'd been playing with a lot of pain and had to have two operations on the groin and then a double hernia operation.
"This season I've played 20 minutes against Treviso and started against Connacht but I had to take pain killers, so the doctors have recommended that I am to rest fully for up to a year.
"Obviously I will miss all the players and management who have been fantastic with me since I arrived and would like to wish them the best of luck for the future."
Cardiff Blues chief executive Robert Norster was clearly disappointed by the news but has praised the scrum-half and wished him a successful future.
"It is hugely disappointing news for both Gareth and the Blues that such a talented player is sidelined in this way," said Norster.
"Gareth has overcome a number of serious injuries over the course of his impressive career, but this most recent injury has really caused tremendous frustration not to mention significant pain for the player that prevents his successful return to competitive action.
"Naturally, on behalf of everyone associated with the Blues I thank Gareth for his efforts for the team and wish him every success in his future career."
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series