Scarlets have confirmed that lock Richard Kelly has been forced to retire from playing rugby on medical grounds after sustaining a broken arm in October 2014.
Kelly, 27, joined the Scarlets in 2012 from Principality Premiership side Swansea making 43 appearances for the region in the last three seasons.
Since breaking his arm in the European Champions Cup clash, against Leicester Tigers, in October last year Kelly has followed a detailed rehabilitation programme with the aim of making a return to the field.
His first competitive game for Scarlets was against Leinster in September 2012 and had become a regular in the region’s jersey.
Speaking about his retirement, Kelly said: “It is hugely disappointing to have to call a day on my playing career but the injury to my arm has made it impossible for me to carry on. The medical staff at the Scarlets have been a huge support and have helped me come to terms with the injury.
“I must say a personal thank you to Sam Handy (Scarlets conditioner) who has been my personal trainer for the last ten months and to Andrew Walker (Head of Medical) and Jo Perkins (Scarlets physiotherapist) who have looked after me. They couldn’t have done more for me.
“Despite having some time to come to terms with the severity of the injury and the possibility of having to hang up my boots it still hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ll never play again.
“It’s been a huge privilege to have represented the Scarlets and will always remember my first game, great victories away from home against Munster and playing in Clermont twice – the stadium, the atmosphere – was something very special.”
Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac: “We are hugely disappointed to have to see Rich forced to retire from the game. He has been very patient over the last ten months since the injury and that time has allowed him to work alongside younger members of the squad whilst following a rigorous rehabilitation programme.
“He has shown a great enthusiasm for coaching and has displayed a good rapport with the squad members he has already worked with. He will be an asset to the Steelers group alongside Dai and wish him all the best with his coaching at Carmarthen Quins.”