Former England and Lions prop Andrew Sheridan has been forced to retire from rugby because of a damaged neck.
The 34-year-old prop has not played since last February, and was released by Toulon over the off-season with doubts over whether he would ever return to playing.
Sheridan’s management company James Grant said in a statement that “their client Andrew Sheridan has retired from rugby with immediate effect on medical grounds”.
“Andrew, 34, has failed to recover from the neck injury he sustained last season playing for Toulon and the subsequent operation he underwent, back in February.
“Capped 40 times by England and twice by the British and Irish Lions, Andrew will now focus on completing his qualifications in wine before looking to forge a new career in the trade.”
And after consultation with doctors, he has been told that his neck can no longer cope with the strain of playing rugby.
Sheridan earned 40 caps over an eight-year England career. A fearsome scrummager, his highlights often came against Australia, and he was key to England’s surprise 2007 World Cup quarter-final win over the Wallabies in Marseille.
He went on two Lions tours, in 2005 and 2009, playing in the Test win over the Springboks in the final game in the latter, and he was also part of the England team that won the 2011 Six Nations.
At club level he was part of the Sale side that became the first team to win the Premiership title having finished the season top of the table.
And in the later stages of his career, he joined Toulon, where he won two Heineken Cups in his final two seasons.
Sheridan will now turn his attention to the wine industry, and intends to pursue a career as a wine buyer, having taken up the hobby since moving to France.