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Bell to call time on rugby career

Bath prop Duncan Bell has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old won five England caps and made over 200 appearances for Bath, after joining his home-town club from Pontypridd in 2003.

In announcing his retirement, Bell has also revealed he has been battling against depression for a number of years.

"I began playing rugby for Bath Minis, so to have had such a long career here has been amazing and it's been an honour to run out in the Bath shirt over 200 times," Bell said. "It's been a difficult decision to make, but I'm looking forward to the new challenges that await, primarily with my business Bell Financial Services."

Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld described Bell as a "larger than life character to have around" but that hid some of the personal anxieties Bell was experiencing.

"To the outside world, Duncan has always appeared the most upbeat of characters, rarely without a smile on his face and always one to make or take a joke," said Rugby Players' Association chief executive Damian Hopley.

"Privately, Duncan has had some considerable challenges in his life and I cannot speak highly enough of the courage he is now showing to speak openly about the depression he has suffered from over the past few years.

"We know how uncomfortable Duncan has found it to openly discuss this illness, which until recently has been seen as a taboo subject in professional sport, and it is to his tremendous credit he is confronting this head on.

"The fact that someone as popular and as well-known as Duncan is coming forward to speak about his personal struggle will help to raise awareness of the issue and will reassure others who may be suffering in silence."

Bell has helped the RPA produce a video for their Mental Health seminars, which are being presented to players at every Aviva Premiership club from the end of this season.

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