Northampton forward Adam Eustace has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect after suffering a neck injury.
The 32-year-old, who could play lock or number eight, has been restricted to just four games for the Saints since moving from Gloucester in 2010. Eustace made one 18-minute appearance off the bench this season, against Saracens in the LV= Cup, and has been advised by specialists to retire.
He said: "I'm indebted to the club for giving me all the time I've needed to get myself back, but unfortunately I've been given the advice from specialists to stop playing. It's been hard to take on the chin and I'm pretty emotional about it."
Eustace, who had played over 200 games for Gloucester, added: "When I came to Northampton I wanted to make an impression. I knew it was always going to be tough with so many good players, but unfortunately I've not been able to fulfil my personal goals.
"I feel really bad and somewhat guilty that I've not been able to repay Jim (Mallinder, the director of rugby) and Nobby (coach Dorian West) for bringing me to the club and the fans for their good wishes. For the first time in my career I've had one injury after another and it's been very frustrating to say the least."
Eustace plans to stay involved in rugby, either in coaching or community development.
Mallinder said he was sorry Eustace's career at Northampton had finished almost before it started.
"Adam had shown throughout his career that he was a quality and experienced campaigner and we thought he would bring a great deal to Franklin's Gardens," Mallinder said.
"While Adam has been a good person to have around the squad and contributed a great deal behind the scenes it is very unfortunate that he has not been able to show the fans his abilities as a player in the first team.
"It is always sad to see a player have his career ended by injury, but we wish Adam all the best with his rehabilitation and every success with whatever he chooses to do in the future."