PA Sport - Tue, 30 Mar 20:24:00 2010
Leicester centre Aaron Mauger has announced his retirement from rugby due to a back injury.
The former New Zealand three-quarter, who won 45 caps for his country, has been persistently troubled by the injury and made just 13 first-team appearances this season.
The 29-year-old said: "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that, due to ongoing complications with a back injury sustained 12 months ago, I announce my retirement from the game."
He added: "After many different specialist treatments in the UK and Germany, along with an intense rehab plan with the club medical staff at Leicester Tigers, I have been unable to regain full fitness and participate in full team training and games without re-injuring myself.
"So unfortunately retiring now seems the last but only realistic option available.
"I would like to thank the club and medical staff for their help over the last year and for their continued treatment and plan to rehabilitate me back to a normal level of function before my family and I depart home to New Zealand in June."
Mauger joined Leicester from Canterbury following New Zealand's exit from the 2007 World Cup. He won three Super 12 titles with the Crusaders and a National Provincial Championship with Canterbury before helping the Tigers to last season's Guinness Premiership title.
Tigers' coach Richard Cockerill said: "It is regrettable when any playing career comes to a close and Aaron has been a real asset to this club, on and off the field, in his time with us.
"He has played at the highest levels but he is also a real team player and has had valuable input over the last couple of seasons.
"We wish him and his family well for the future when they return to New Zealand."