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Birkett forced to hang up his boots
WASPS’ injury curse has struck again with back row legend Richard Birkett forced out of the game with a neck injury.
Birkett, who has played more than 250 times for the club and was one of the current squad’s few remaining links to the glory years of the past, has had to call time on his illustrious career because of a neck injury.
The 33-year-old picked up the injury playing for the A team against Saracens recently and joins a long list of Wasps players whose careers have ended early since Dai Young joined the club.
Last year Tom Rees, Joe Worsley, Dan Ward-Smith, John Hart and Steve Thompson all had to hang up their boots, and this year scrum half Nic Berry has had to follow suit.
Birkett made his Wasps debut in 1999 and has only ever played for the black and golds, helping the club to four Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups.
He said: “After 14 years of rugby with Wasps my body has unfortunately given up on me.
“However, I leave the game content in the fact that I was a part of an amazing era in Wasps’ history. Those memories will never leave me and I'm incredibly proud of what we achieved.
“I've made some fantastic friends along the way and I have enjoyed almost every minute.
“The timing of my departure from the game is disappointing for me as I will not be able to be part of the new era at Wasps, which I genuinely believe has enormous potential.
“It's been a pleasure working with such raw young talent and I'm sure that Dai and the rest of the coaching team will continue to create a team to be reckoned with.”
Young said: “Since I came to the club last season, Richard has been an integral part of the squad. As a senior player he has been a leader both on and off of the field.
“In the modern game it is very rare that a player will stay with a club for their whole career but Birky has been a key component of this club for a 14-year period and he will go down as a true Wasps great.”
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