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Tonetti forced to retire

19th March 2014 11:44

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Connacht centre Kyle Tonetti making a tackle

Calling time: Kyle Tonetti

Connacht have revealed that 26-year-old centre Kyle Tonetti has been forced to retire from the game due to a long-standing ankle injury.

The South African-born player, who joined Connacht from Sale Sharks in November 2011, became an ever-present in the PRO12 side's line-up.

He was understandably upset to be hanging up his boots after a promising career during his early 20s, but said he has "come to terms with it".

"I'm obviously very disappointed to have to make this decision at this stage of my career. After exhausting all options and going through numerous surgeries, I have come to terms with the fact that I will not be playing at this level again," he told Connacht's official website.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has been so supportive, especially over the last few months - my family, my girlfriend, friends and Connacht team-mates. And a particular thank you to the Connacht backroom staff for providing me with their best efforts to get me back on the pitch and accommodating me while injured. I would also like to strongly thank Eric Elwood and all of the great coaches I've played under for their support since my schooldays.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Connacht and I'm disappointed I haven't been able to contribute as much as I had hoped. Although I was only fortunate enough to play in 18 games for the province, I have spent the last three seasons up at the Sportsground with this great group of people. The Connacht supporters provide an atmosphere at the Sportsground that is second to none and I'll truly miss playing in front of them.

He added: "Over the last number of months, being unable to play, I've had some time to prepare for this and I'm anxious and excited to move on to the next stage of my career, something all players have to do at some point in their lives.

"I believe there are great times ahead for the club under Pat Lam and the other coaches and I wish Connacht the very best of luck in the future. I look forward to watching on as a supporter."

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