Wasps have announced that Italian hooker Carlo Festuccia will retire at the end of the season, after an impressive 19-year career.
The 36-year-old is a firm fans’ favourite, having made 68 appearances during his two stints with Wasps, after first linking up with the club in 2013.
Festuccia left for Zebre at the end of the 2015/16 season, but returned as injury cover in January of this year when he received a warm welcome back from the Wasps' faithful.
Unfortunately, a hand injury sustained during Wasps' A-League semi-final against Gloucester means Festuccia will be unable to make a final appearance for Wasps before officially hanging up his boots.
On news of his retirement, Festuccia said: "I’d like to thank all of the clubs I’ve had the pleasure of representing during my career. Each has been a unique experience and I have been lucky to enjoy 19 years in the game.
"It was a very easy decision for me to come back to Wasps when I spoke to Dai earlier this year and to end my career at this club that I love, with us competing at the top of the Aviva Premiership, has been a good way for me to finish. I appreciate Dai and the club putting faith in me in this final stage of my career.
"I also can’t thank the supporters at Wasps enough. They have always been great to me and when I returned here from Zebre, the support they showed me was amazing."
He added: "Wasps is a club that will continue to improve. In my time here we have gone from the bottom of the table to the top and that has taken tireless hard work from everyone here; players, Dai and the coaches, support staff and the off-field team, as well as our fans who have supported us throughout.
"There has been huge positive change since Derek Richardson took over the club and I’m sure Wasps have an exciting future ahead of them. This year we are looking to finish well and I’m sure the club will continue to improve every year.
"I still love playing rugby at the weekend but, as you get older, training every day does get a lot tougher! After a life spent out on the pitch, it will be hard for me to hang up my boots and I will miss playing and for this reason I want to try and stay involved with the game at some level.
"Thank you to all players I have had the privilege of playing alongside, the physios who have enabled me to play as long as I have, and everyone who has supported me along the way, particularly my family."