Wales lock Coombs forced to retire

Date published: June 27 2016

Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs has announced that he will retire from rugby with immediate effect after making his PRO12 debut in 2009.

Coombs suffered a 14-month layoff with a serious knee injury, which he sustained after falling awkwardly at a line-out. 

He has been advised not to return to action following a specialist consultation after a recent knee operation.

Coombs, 31, has progressed through the Newport RFC youth teams to play for Pontypool RFC in the Premiership where he made 30 appearances in 2005 and 2006. 

At the start of the 2006/07 season Coombs re-joined Newport FRC, going on to make 101 appearances in total.

He captained the side in 2008/09 and 2009/10 and was named Premiership Player of the Year in 2010, the year he also made his Dragons debut.

Newport Gwent Dragons CEO Stuart Davies applauded Coombs for his hard work during his time at Rodney Parade.

"Andrew was highly regarded and valued by his teammates, and his retirement represents a significant loss to everyone at Rodney Parade," said Davies. 

"We would like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution Andrew made during his seven seasons with the Region."

Coombs made a total of 86 appearances for the Dragons, scoring 8 tries. 

His final appearance for the Men of Gwent was in the 25-21 victory over Cardiff Blues in the Challenge Cup quarter-final at Rodney Parade in April 2015.

"I can personally empathise with the problems Andrew has faced over the last year, and the difficult decision he has had to make. I wish him the very best in his future endeavours."

Coombs’ uncompromising approach to rugby, combined with his ball carrying and aggression around the breakdown, made him a firm favourite with Dragons supporters. Whilst he enjoyed many inspiring performances for the Region, one of his standout performances proved to be when the Dragons beat Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day 2014.

In total Coombs won 10 caps for Wales, making his first appearances during the 2013 Six Nations. He made his debut against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium in February 2013 and also featured in the famous 30-3 victory over England Cardiff in April 2013, which clinched the Six Nations Title. 

He won his 10th and final cap for Wales against England at Twickenham in 2015.