Rhys Williams has been forced to retire from rugby after a serious knee injury at just 29 years of age.
Williams enjoyed a distinguished career with Cardiff, and Cardiff Blues and was capped at all age grade levels for his country. After earning the regions' captaincy in 2005-06, Williams had a string of injuries that have ultimately called time on his career.
"I'd like to thank everyone at the Cardiff Blues and to all the supporters for all the encouragement they have given me, especially over the challenges of the last few seasons," he said.
"I'm obviously massively disappointed to receive the news from the Doctors, but I hope in the future to look back on my rugby career and be proud of my achievements in the game."
Cardiff Blues CEO, Robert Norster explained: "Having fought so tirelessly to repeatedly rehabilitate following an appalling catalogue of injuries, it is fully understandable that this day has sadly now arrived. However, an enforced and premature retirement it most certainly is at the tender age of just 29 years of age.
"Throughout his entire illustrious playing career with Cardiff RFC, the Blues and the Wales national team, Rhys Gethin Williams has consistently proved to be the proverbial model professional.
Blues Director of Rugby, David Young added: "It is always a sad day when a player is forced to hang up his boots and even sadder one when one of the genuine good guys is put in that position which Rhys most certainly is. On the field, his pace and elusive qualities were an integral part of his success and marked him out as a special performer with try-scoring abilities up there with the very best to have ever worn the shirt. His game understanding is also of the highest order as was evident in his time as captain of the team and will serve him well in any onward involvement in the game he may choose to pursue."
"On behalf of everyone at the Blues, I wish him every success following what has been a long, successful and distinguished playing career".
Williams concluded: "Rugby has been a huge part of my life and has given me many wonderful opportunities and memories. I've been fortunate enough to see the world while playing the game I love and have met a lot of people and made many lifelong friends."
"To captain the Cardiff Blues during the 2005/06 season was a huge honour and I'm also proud that I've only ever played for my home town of Cowbridge and for Cardiff and the Blues."
"I'm also very proud to have represented my country on 44 occasions. I would especially like to thank my wife Liz and family for all their support and also to my namesake, surgeon Rhys Williams and the Cardiff Blues medical team headed up by Tim Atter for all their efforts over the last year."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.